- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 6, 2012

AUGUSTA, GA. (AP) - Ryo Ishikawa no longer has to worry about trying to qualify for the Masters. The 20-year-old from Japan received a special invitation for the second time.

Augusta National chairman Billy Payne says the Masters historically invites international players to expand the major’s global reach. He says Ishikawa will help increase interest in Japan and throughout Asia.

Ishikawa has won nine times on the Japan Golf Tour. He also received an invitation in 2009 when he was 17. He was the second-youngest player to compete in the Masters.

In the last 10 years, the only player not from Asia to receive a special invitation to the Masters was Greg Norman in 2002.

Among those yet to qualify this year is Ernie Els of South Africa.

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