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Brewer Boycotts Champions Dinner

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AUGUSTA, Ga. - Gay Brewer boycotted a dinner honoring former Masters champions Tuesday night because he was upset about being asked not to play this year.
 
Augusta National Golf Club sent letters to three former winners -- Brewer, Billy Casper and Doug Ford -- recommending they not play.
 
All agreed to step aside, but Brewer was 'devastated'' by the letter, Casper said. As a result, he went to Kentucky instead of the Champions Dinner.
 
'I tried to get him to reconsider,'' Casper said. 'I think you hurt yourself by not being here. What the heck. You're sitting in that room with the greatest players ever to play the game. People would pay thousands and thousands of dollars to be in that situation.''
 
Ford also attended the dinner, though he was perturbed that the request to drop out came in a letter.
 
'We all felt it was the wrong way to do it,'' Ford said. 'But it's their tournament, and they can do it the way they want to.''
 
The 70-year-old Brewer won the Masters in 1967. He has played every year since then, but it hasn't been pretty.
 
Brewer last made the cut in 1983 and withdrew last year after shooting an 84 in the opening round. A lasting image is of him struggling to climb the fairway at No. 18, using a club as a makeshift cane.
 
Casper, also 70, made it through two rounds last year, shooting 87 and 80. The 1970 winner had gone 13 straight years without making the cut.
 
The 79-year-old Ford, who won the Masters in 1957, played only two shots last year before withdrawing. He last made the cut in 1971.
 
Asked why he continued playing long after his competitive days were over, Ford once replied, 'Because I won the damn thing.''
 
Until this year, the Masters always allowed its former champions to play as long as they like. In an effort to keep the field around 90 players, they will apparently begin curbing that privilege.
 
Casper said he wasn't bothered by the decision.
 
'The way I look at it, they helped me make my decision,'' he said. 'It was the people who kept me playing.''
 
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