Special Masters invitation for Els

Four-time Major champion golfer Ernie Els has received a special exemption to compete in next year's US Masters golf tournament, multiple websites reported.

Golfweek, Golf Digest and Golf magazine reported that his management had confirmed the 48-year-old South African had been given a special entry into the field for next April's major championship at Augusta National Golf Club.

"Thank you for a Great Xmas present! @TheMasters Can't wait!" Els tweeted.

The special invitation was the first issued by the Masters since Japan's Ryo Ishikawa received one in 2013.

Els played what he thought would be his final Masters last April, his last entry into the Augusta National field from a five-year exemption after winning the 2012 British Open.

Another Masters start would be the 24th at Augusta for Els, who was 53rd at this year's tournament. - AFP