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Graeme McDowell's Masters place confirmed after tournament rescheduled for November


Graeme McDowell

Graeme McDowell

©INPHO/Oisin Keniry

Graeme McDowell

Graeme McDowell will return to the Masters for the first time since 2016 providing the tournament goes ahead as planned in November.

The Augusta National chiefs announced on Monday that the event was being rescheduled for November 12-15 and within 20 minutes had contacted McDowell to confirm his spot in the field.

The Masters was initially due to be played this week, April 9-12, and, as of tournament rules, all players in the top 50 of the world rankings on March 30 were guaranteed a place in the field.

McDowell is currently 49th in the list and organisers have taken to decision to honour his place regardless of the postponement.

The 40-year-old burst back into the top 50 when he won the Saudi Invitational at the start of February although briefly dropped to 51st after the abandoned Players' Championship.

Despite no golf played afterwards, a quirk of the coefficients jumped McDowell back to 49th just in time for the rankings freeze and, ultimately, enough to seal his spot at Augusta.

“It had been a big goal to get back into the top-50 on the rankings but to drop to 51st and then back to 49th just ahead of that deadline, and after the Players had been cancelled, was pretty bizarre and I was concerned I would find myself in a grey area," he told Golfbytourmiss.

"The people involved with The Masters were fantastic with me and literally called me 20 minutes after the press release to inform me I was in the field.

“So, it’s great to know I can now include the Masters on my schedule even though the second week of November is going to be very different for everyone compared to a second week in April.

"How will the weather be and more interesting, how will the golf course look and play?"

It's the first time the event will ever have been played outside spring, and will also allow McDowell to give all his children a flavour of the unique Augusta atmosphere.

“I’m very excited to get the kids in their white boiler suits at the Par Three Contest," he said. "I haven’t had a chance to have all three of them out there since I have missed the last few years, so that will be a special moment.

“It’s so important not to lose sight of the bigger picture still at stake here. Lives are at stake all over the world and sport is irrelevant in comparison. We all have to do the right thing. It’s a responsibility and there is just no other choice right now.”

The other three players to benefit from the Masters ruling are debutants Collin Morikawa, Scottie Scheffler and Christiaan Bezuidenhout.

Belfast Telegraph