RBC Canadian Open

Oakdale Golf & Country Club

The Loop

Rosaforte: From the back door to the board at Augusta

April 11, 2008

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- "Let the Fall Series be your friend" eventually was the theme for Steve Flesch. The lefty won the 2007 Turning Stone Resort Championship, which didn't earn him a Masters invitation. Neither did his victory earlier in the season at the Reno-Tahoe Open, which was opposite the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. So he had two PGA Tour victories and he still did not get to play in the Masters, right?

Wrong. In the end those 2007 victories, and his play in the six post-FedEx Cup events, led to Flesch returning to Augusta National, because they were the key to him finishing in the top 30 on the final 2007 money list. Perhaps it was kind of a backdoor entrance, but demonstrated one way in which the Masters invitation system works. Fred Ridley, chairman of the competition committee, duly noted this point in a pre-Masters news conference. Flesch added to it Friday after shooting 67 to place himself inside the top five going into the weekend.

"The money list got me into Augusta, the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship," Flesch said. "But it didn't get me into the Doral tournament [the WGC-CA Championship]."

Not that he's complaining. "I don't think all Fall Series events should [be worth a Masters invitation]," he said. "I think only the ones that have enough ranking points should [be worth an invitation]. I'm not discounting any of them. I think they should. They all should mean something. They all should have a value."

They had value for Flesch -- once they were added up.

-- Tim Rosaforte*