Els not feeling pressure to win in Houston

CHRIS DUNCAN AP Sports Writer Published:

HUMBLE, Texas (AP) -- Ernie Els is approaching the Houston Open like any other tournament, and not worrying about the other goal at stake.

Els must win this week to qualify for next week's Masters and avoid sitting out the season's first major for the first time since 1993.

The three-time major champion is resigned to the fact that he won't be at Augusta. The club could still offer a special invitation to Els, like it extended to Greg Norman in 2002. Ryo Ishikawa, a nine-time winner on the Japan Golf Tour, has a special invitation this year.

Els isn't expecting a call between now and next week.

Phil Mickelson is the defending champion in Houston, and the field also includes Fred Couples and international stars Lee Westwood, Padraig Harrington and Graeme McDowell.