Thursday, October 23, 2008

A trip around the golf world ...

Just some thoughts while contemplating the changes in the FedEx Cup qualifying system for the 2009 PGA Tour season.

The first thought I have about the FedEx points system is that it might be a moot point. The European PGA Tour has stolen some of the PGA Tour’s thunder with their Race to Dubai. The Euros (with help from the Dubai sheiks) have doubled up on the FedEx Cup by posting a $20 million bonus at the end. By the way, instead of the intricate points system trying to be employed on these shores, the Euros are relying on their Order of Merit (that’s money list). Gee, what a novel idea, but isn’t it too simple?

There’s an unwritten rule in professional golf. If you put $20 million on the table, they will come. The first player of note who said he’d adjust his schedule to attempt to qualify for Dubai was Phil Mickelson. Of course he said something about enhancing his career by becoming more of an international player. Right, and if someone would put up $30 million for a series on the moon, he’d play to enhance his career by becoming more of an intergalactic player.

The problem with being the first to admit he’s succumbed to the golden glow is you take the first hit. There will be others and you can count on it. The system works in favor of the players. The four WGC events count to the 12 event minimum as do the four majors. That leaves four appearances. Since the 2009 season begins in less than a month, look for some PGA Tour players to get a head start in the early part of the European schedule. Many of the Americans travel to Scotland to play the Scottish Open at Loch Lomond the week prior to the British Open, so in effect the PGA Tour members who could challenge in Dubai won’t have to alter their schedule that much. It should be interesting.


This week in the first two rounds of PGA Tour Q-School First Stage competition, Miami’s Erik Compton opened with a disappointing 76 and a 75. Maybe the scores aren’t great, but the effort is out of this world.

Five months ago, Compton underwent heart transplant surgery—his second. He has the spirit of a champion, maybe now he has the heart, or at least one that will last. Hopefully, Compton will be able to recharge his professional career which included a stint on the Nationwide Tour following a successful campaign on the Canadian Tour. Compton turned professional following a successful collegiate career at Georgia.

Will Compton finally realize his dream of making it to the PGA Tour? The odds say no, but I don’t think he reads the morning line. He’s a 28-year old golfer with his third heart. He’s been defying the odds since his first transplant at age 12. How can you tell him no.


This past year was supposedly going to be Annika Sorenstam’s “Retirement Tour.” Now, one of the greatest woman players of all time is hedging her bet. Sorenstam, who will marry in January, had planned to put her clubs into mothballs following a tournament in China. Now, she says she might just go into hiatus.

Her plans as far as marrying and starting a family remain in tact, but now she says that depending how she feels and her situations work out, she may consider a return. Normally, this corner would have untoward remarks about waffling like this. However, given the class and dignity she has brought to the game, we can only wish her the best.

Bartender, a glass of European red wine, perhaps an Italian vintage if you will. It appears I might be spending some time on the continent over the next year.

See you on the first tee,


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