Big names have all to play for in Andalucia

23/03/2011 16:03:24
Darren Clarke  (Getty Images)
Darren Clarke (Getty Images)

Australian Richard Green has a final chance to qualify for the coming Masters Tournament at the Open de Andalucía de Golf by Turkish Airlines this week - but the left-hander is facing an uphill task in a stellar field.

First of all the 40 year old has to win in Malaga, as South African Louis Oosthuizen did last March, to climb into the Official World Golf Ranking's top 50 and earn a place at Augusta.

But even if he lifts the trophy on Sunday, Green would then have to wait to see what happens at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Florida.

A number of players there could deny him a second Masters appearance, among them Italian teenager Matteo Manassero. His hopes of returning a year after he made the cut as British Amateur Champion depend on him finishing in the top 20 at Bay Hill - and possibly a lot higher.

Dane Thomas Björn, who won the Commercialbank Qatar Masters presented by Dolphin Energy last month and then knocked Tiger Woods out of the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play, would also have had an opportunity in Malaga of making it to Augusta, but a family illness led to him pulling out of the event.

Oosthuizen was another withdrawal because of a virus that has spread from his eye to his mouth - the Open Champion hopes to return to action in Houston next week - but that still leaves two members of the world's current top 50 in the field.

They are 21st-ranked Alvaro Quiros and fellow Spaniard Miguel Angel Jiménez, who doubles up as tournament promoter.

Jiménez is one of only seven golfers to earn more than €17,000,000 on The European Tour, and two of the six ahead of him are also playing.

Colin Montgomerie's €24,000,000 places him second to Ernie Els on the all-time list, while Darren Clarke has banked just short of over €18,000,000.