13 players secure berths in 2011 Masters as final rankings are issued

sean o'hair
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Sean O'Hair ended 2011 ranked No. 43 in the world, good enough for a trip to Augusta National in April.
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PA Sport and Associated Press

Series:

A total of 13 players nailed down spots in the 2011 Masters on Sunday by finishing the year in the top 50 of the Official World Golf Ranking.

Rickie Fowler and Sean O'Hair of the United States; Japanese players Ryo Ishikawa, Yuta Ikeda and Hiroyuki Fujita; Kim Kyung-tae of South Korea, who topped the money list on the Japan Tour; South African Charl Schwartzel; England's Ross Fisher, Italian brothers Francesco and Edoardo Molinari; Spaniard Alvaro Quiros; and Sweden’s Peter Hanson and Robert Karlsson all earned their places at Augusta National.

Because there are no official events scheduled for the next two weeks, the final ranking lists for 2010 were issued Sunday night.

The Masters invites players who are in the top 50 at the end of the year. The criteria is mainly for international players who are not PGA Tour members and have fewer avenues to qualify, such as winning a tour event or getting into the FedExCup finale.

That brings to 92 the number of players who have qualified for the Masters, which has the smallest field of the four majors. Augusta National prefers to keep its field at about 100.

Players still can qualify for the Masters by getting into the top 50 a week before the tournament, or winning a PGA Tour event that offers full FedEx Cup points.

The Masters will be played April 7-10, with Phil Mickelson the defending champion and Tiger Woods trying to end his longest drought without a major. Woods last won the Masters in 2005, and he has gone 10 majors without winning.

Ernie Els' South African Open victory on Sunday didn’t change his 12th position in the rankings, but runner-up Retief Goosen moved up two spots to 15th.

Lee Westwood, who deposed Tiger Woods as world No. 1 at the end of October, will enter the new year still solidly in the top spot. Woods remains second, followed by No. 3 Martin Kaymer, No. 4 Phil Mickelson, No. 5 Jim Furyk, No. 6 Graeme McDowell, No. 7 Steve Stricker, No. 8 Paul Casey, No. 9 Luke Donald and No. 10 Rory McIlroy.

The second 10 includes No. 11 Ian Poulter, No. 12 Els, No. 13 Matt Kuchar, No. 14 Dustin Johnson, No. 15 Francesco Molinari, No. 16 Retief Goosen, No. 17 Robert Karlsson, No. 18 Edoardo Molinari, No. 19 Hunter Mahan and No. 20 Louis Oosthuizen.