Twenty-Three Different Nations But Sadly No Scottish-Born Teeing-Up At Augusta – A First In 40-Years

Sadly, it’s now official and for the first time in 40-years there will be no Scottish-born golfer teeing-up in this week’s 88th hosting of The Masters.

Denver-based Scot Martin Laird was Scotland’s last chance of securing victory in yesterday’s (Sunday) concluding Valero Texas Open that would have earned him the last invitation into The Masters.

However Laird crashed out posting a closing round 73 and tumble down the board for an even par tally and a distant share of 51st place on the host TPC San Antonio course.

Sandy Lyle getting comfortable in his Augusta members jacket in winning the 1988 Masters – Photograph AP

Eleven years ago, Laird denied Rory McIlroy with a closing day equal course record 63 for a third Tour victory and also secure the final Augusta tee-time but not this time.

Instead American Akshay Bhatia grabbed the last Augusta National time in leading from start-to-finsh to capture the San Antonio event.

The 22-year-old LA-born bespectacled lefty agonisingly let slip a six-shot advantage over his closing round of 67 and holed a very testing birdie putt at the 72nd hole to tie American Denny McCarthy at 20-under-par and only for McCarthy to hand the $1.6m first prize cheque to Bhatia.

It’s now seen the pencil-thin Bhatia secure a second PGA Tour win in his past 19 starts and a maiden Masters tee-time.

Bhatia joins 45 other Americans competing in this week’s Masters including nine, and headed by Tiger Woods, who are past Augusta champions.

Twenty-three countries will be represented at this week’s Masters headed by the USA with 46 players and next best is Australia with six, England and South Korea five each, Canada four and Spain with three and each Masters champions.

Sandy Lyle’s decision last year to retire from the tournament and the likes of Bob MacIntyre and Laird failing to qualify means a first time since 1984 a Home of Golf nation golfer will not tee-up in the year’s maiden major.

Lyle had made his Masters debut in 1980 and all up, teed-up in 42 Masters including an unbroken run of 39 appearances from 1985 to last year.

Lyle, and now aged 66, will be in attendance at Augusta but only to be present at the Champions Dinner.

Countries not known as a golfing nation such as Chile, Columbia, Poland, Austria and France are represented at this year’s but, as mentioned, not one Scottish-born.

And Scottish golfing stocks continue to dip with top-ranked Bob MacIntyre now ranked World No. 80.

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