Jeff Quinney, No. 71 in world ranking, is the latest golfer to suffer sophomore ranking slump

PALM HARBOR, Fla. (AP) — Jeff Quinney, No. 71 in the world ranking, must play well the next few weeks to qualify for the World Golf Championship at Doral and keep alive his hopes of playing the Masters for the first time as a pro.

Take away his Nationwide Tour record, and Quinney would be No. 40.

Because the world ranking measures two years, Nationwide alumni in their second straight PGA Tour season still have as many as two dozen Nationwide events on their ledger. In Quinney's situation, it works out like this:

— He has earned 106.35 points in 60 tournaments the last two years for an average of 1.77.

— Without the 24 Nationwide events (worth 7.77 points), he would have 98.58. There is a minimum divisor of 40 events, so his average would be 2.46.

Like many players, Quinney's only concern on the Nationwide Tour was earning enough money to finish in the top 25 and move up to the big leagues. But the PGA Tour felt the Nationwide was a credible circuit that was worthy of ranking points.

"We're aware of the situation, and we knew that as we fought to have the Nationwide Tour included in the world ranking," said Andy Pazder, senior vice president of competition. "Where it may be working against Jeff Quinney, it helped him his first year."

Pazder said Quinney's ranking points from the Nationwide last year helped him squeak into the top 100 and earn a spot into the PGA Championship. Two years ago, Zach Johnson won on the PGA Tour as a rookie, and his Nationwide points (two wins, two second-place finishes) helped him get into the U.S. Open and a world event.

The trade-off is being held back the second season. Stephen Marino is in the same quandary. He has made the cut in all seven events this year and is No. 121 in the world. Remove his Nationwide events and points, and he would be No. 72.

Brandt Snedeker would be at No. 21 in the world, but his Nationwide events pulled his ranking to No. 49. But because he had such a strong rookie season, he's eligible for all majors and world events.

Johnson said he believes credibility for the Nationwide Tour comes from more than ranking points.

"You throw in what the players are doing now ... that's all the credibility you need," he said.

In nearly two decades, 99 players who spent time on the Nationwide Tour have won on the PGA Tour.

TROUBLE AT BAY HILL: Players headed to Bay Hill next week have been warned not to expect smooth conditions on the greens.

Due to a severe turf disease and invasion of nematode (tiny worms), the PGA Tour brought in several agronomy experts to try to mend the putting surfaces for the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Some sod plugs were used, and there was a second dose of overseeding a month ago. Although officials say conditions have improved, a notice in the locker room at Innisbrook said conditions would not be ideal.

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