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Els isn’t expecting a call between now and Sunday, when the Masters field will be set.

“It is an invitational event,” he said, “and they have their reasons to invite somebody or not, and that’s the sad part. I’ll probably miss it for the first time in 18 or 19 years. My streak will come to an end, unfortunately.”

Mickelson, meanwhile, played at Augusta on Monday and Tuesday before arriving in Houston late Wednesday. He’ll play the first two rounds with defending Masters champion Charl Schwartzel and Couples, who played at the University of Houston and draws immense galleries here every year.

Shell has been the tournament’s title sponsor since 1992, the third-longest tenure on tour. The oil company’s current contract runs through 2017.