'I feel like I'm playing well enough right now that maybe I can contend,' Daly said.
Daly dropped only one spot to No. 10 on the money list. He was only safe when Adam Scott won The Players Championship, and none of the players behind Daly on the money list finished second.
Daly, a former PGA and British Open champion, loves playing the Masters more than any other tournament. Augusta National would seem to fit his game perfectly, especially with Daly's touch around the greens.
Success has been sparse, though.
Daly's best finish at the Masters was a tie for third in 1993, six shots behind the winner. He has not finished in the top 25 since.
Craig Parry, Todd Hamilton, Trevor Immelman and Brian Davis qualified for the Masters by finishing in the top 50 in the world ranking. Davis was the only player close to falling out of the top 50, especially after he missed the cut at The Players Championship. He slipped three spots to No. 50.
Loren Roberts, meanwhile, was the victim of bad timing for the second time in three months.
He was No. 47 in December - the top 50 at the end of the year get into Augusta National - but dropped four places to No. 51 when the final ranking of the 2003 season was published.
Even though he didn't play the last two months of the season, Roberts dropped in the rankings because of a formula that gradually devalues points every 13 weeks.
Roberts worked himself back up to No. 48 going into The Players Championship, but dropped to No. 52 on Monday, missing the Masters. He needed to finish in a tie for 23rd at Sawgrass, but lost hope with a 43 on the back nine Saturday to shoot 79. He closed with a 70 to finish in a tie for 66th.
'That's life,' Roberts shrugged. 'If I played a little better, I wouldn't have to worry about it.'
Asked about a world ranking system that twice knocked him out of the top 50 with a Masters qualification on the line, the 48-year-old Roberts had few qualms.
'That's what the system does. It ranks how you're playing,' he said. 'And obviously, I haven't played that well the last year. I would have loved to play the Masters again. Next year is probably my last chance before the senior tour. If I can do something good the rest of this year and first part of next year, maybe I have a shot.'
John Huston, who won the Southern Farm Bureau Classic last year, finished No. 51 in the ranking. Huston needed to finish 14th at The Players Championship to get into the top 50, but shot 73 and tied for 26th.
The four who qualified through the world ranking have all won this year - Parry at Doral, Hamilton at the Honda Classic, Immelman in South Africa and Davis on the European tour.
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