Tuesday, November 10, 2009

This Week in Golf

PGA Tour - The Children's Miracle Network Classic at Walt Disney World will be contested this week to finish up the Fall Series. This is the last official PGA Tour sanctioned event that will count toward the 2009 money list. A handful of card-carrying Tour pros find that fact extremely important. Only the top 125 players on this year's money list are awarded full exemption for the 2010 season. The next 25 players on the money list get partial exemption. If you finish the year outside of the top 150, you will be fighting to play the regular tour, and you will most likely spend a lot of time playing the Nationwide Tour. So the average Joe Tour players are out in full force this week trying their best to keep their heads above water. Some big names are right at the cut line too. Former world number one David Duval currently sits at 125th on the money list, and 2002 PGA Championship winner, Rich Beem, is at 124th. Knocking on the exemption door are other names previously mentioned in other "This Week in Golf" columns. Chris Riley, Jeff Maggert, and Tim Herron follow Duval on the list in that order. I will be looking for two Golden Gophers to preform well this week. Lumpy (Tim Herron) and Tom Lehman are two Minnesotans that will be playing in Orlando for better exemption next year. Lehman already holds full-status on the Champions Tour, but at 149th on the regular tour's money list, he will play this week to have more scheduling options going into 2010. Tom. whose father died two weeks ago, had a strong showing at Disney in 2005, and he has played the event every year since 2001. But my pick to win the 2009 finale is Zach Johnson. The 2007 Masters champion and former Missouri Valley Conference golfer can make birdies, and the victor at Disney will have to go low. Johnson has proved his ability to score well in San Antonio where he has won back-to-back the last two years. The leader of the John Deere Classic's "Zach Attack" was recently awarded the game ball by University of Iowa's Kirk Ferentz. Johnson has long been a Hawkeye fanatic and supporter of all things Iowa. He was in attendance when Iowa traveled to Madison a couple weeks ago, and the coach surprisingly gave Zach the ball. He received another game ball for his fundraising efforts during the floods in his hometown of Cedar Rapids last year. The Golf Channel will bring you all four rounds of the action from Disney.

Australian Masters - Tiger Woods returns to Australia for the first time in over ten years to participate in the JBwere Masters at Kingston Heath Golf Club in Melbourne. He appears to be happy to be there even though he is getting run over by the massive galleries even in his practice round today with Craig Parry. Woods announced his return to Australia a little less than a year ago when the world economy was in a talespin. He was criticized at the time because he gladly welcomed the $3 million appearance fee to come. In the US, appearance fees are illegal, but in foreign lands, players snatch them up when they can. The total purse for the field is about $1.5 million, but Tiger gets three just for showing up. However, none of the players are complaining. Having Woods in the field has caused the first sold out golf tournament in Australia's history. Over 100,000 tickets sold very soon after Tiger's commitment to the event. Other talented Australians are in the field, but Tiger is once again my pick to win. The Golf Channel will also cover the JBwere Masters.

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