The Masters: Should Billy Payne Grant Ernie Els a Special Exemption?

Fred AltvaterContributor IIMarch 19, 2012

Ernie Els is ranked No. 62 in the world and ineligible for the Masters
Ernie Els is ranked No. 62 in the world and ineligible for the MastersSam Greenwood/Getty Images

Ernie Els currently sits at No. 62 on the Official World Golf Rankings and without a win in the last twelve months is ineligible to play in this year's Masters.

The answer to the question of the Masters granting a special invitation to Els is a “Big Easy":  YES!

Ernie Els is a member of the Golf World Hall of Fame.  He has won 18 events on the PGA Tour, 26 times on the European Tour and has a total of 75 titles worldwide.

Els won the U. S. Open twice, first in 1994 and again in 1997.  He won the British Open in 2002 and has six top-10 finishes in the PGA Championship. 

Since 1994, Ernie has had six top 10s at the Masters including runner-up finishes in 2000 and 2004.  He has only missed the cut there four times in 18 starts.

Ernie knows major championships. 

He has made the cut in all five events in which he has played in 2012.  Even at age 42, he is still very competitive.  Most recently he was T-5 and just missed winning the Transitions Championship.

He has been playing every week trying to earn enough world ranking points to get inside the top 50 and earn his eligibility into the Masters.

Everyone could see the utter defeat and frustration on his face in his post-round interview at the Transitions. 

No one really knows what goes on behind closed doors at Augusta National.  Granting “The Big Easy” an invitation to play in this year’s Masters would be a very popular decision with golf fans everywhere. 

Els has come so close in past years to donning a green jacket.  With his recent success and solid play, 2012 could be his year.

Are you listening, Billy?