USGA PRESIDENT: Jim Vernon has been nominated to a one-year term as president of the USGA, replacing Walter Driver. The election of Vernon, other officers and the 15-member executive committee will take place Feb. 9 in Houston at the annual meeting.
Vernon has been vice president for two years and spent four years as chairman of the Equipment Standards Committee. He is a past president of the board of the California Golf Association and the Southern California Golf Association.
Jim Hyler of Raleigh, N.C., and Cameron Jay Rains of San Diego were nominated as vice presidents.
COLONIAL: Six more players will have a chance to play at Colonial next year.
Stewart Cink, a member of the PGA Tour policy board, said Tuesday the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial has agreed to increase the size of its field from 114 to 120. Past champions who want to play, such as Rod Curl, would be added to the field.
He was not certain if the Memorial Tournament had agreed to increase its field from 105 to 120 players.
The tour has been trying to make the field size more uniform at the invitational events, particularly after some grumbling last year when Tiger Woods' new tournament (AT&T National) featured a limited field.---=
FIRE RELIEF: The Nationwide Tour plays its Tour Championship this week in Barona Creek in San Diego County, where more is at stake than the top 25 players on the money list earning PGA Tour cards. Through a program called "Birdies for Relief," the tournament will donate at least $200,000 to the Red Cross Fire Relief Fund to support victims of the California fires.
Nationwide Insurance and the PGA Tour has pledged to donate $100 for every birdie made at Barona Creek.
Tournament organizers said admission would be free, and they have encouraged fans to donate to the relief fund instead of buying a ticket. The Century Club of San Diego also invited eight firefighters to play in the pro-am Wednesday.
MOLDER'S MOMENTUM: Bryce Molder finished 10 shots off the lead last week at the Ginn sur Mer Classic, earning $52,200. What might sound fairly ordinary to most represented a great turn of fortunes for Molder.
Molder didn't make the cut in any of his first 11 events of the year, didn't cash a tour check until late July, and the tie for 21st at Tesoro Club was by far his best showing of the season.
"There's about three or four things you need to do well, and I was not doing any of those well," Molder said. "I wasn't driving it well, I wasn't hitting any of my irons very well ... I wasn't scoring well, I wasn't putting well. Everything was bad."
Molder persevered, and wound up more than doubling his 2007 last week.
It would take a win this week at Disney to keep Molder from having to endure Q-school. Understanding that victory doesn't exactly seem realistic, Molder is simply trying to build some momentum for '08 now.
"I know how well I can play when things are going my way, so it's very frustrating and it's a little bit humiliating to go that long without making a cut," Molder said. "But it happens - it happens to good players - and you just have to be able to try to put it behind you so that you can give yourself a chance the next time."
DIVOTS: U.S. Open champion Angel Cabrera made eagle on the final hole to force a playoff, and he beat Ricardo Gonzalez in the Argentina Masters. Cabrera also eagled the 18th and won in a playoff in his previous event, the PGA Grand Slam of Golf. ... Chris DiMarco, who had shoulder surgery on Sept. 12, withdrew from the final PGA Tour event of the year. ... Nine players outside the top 125 on the PGA Tour money list have played at least 30 times this year.
STAT OF THE WEEK: Three years after Todd Hamilton won the British Open and rose to No. 16 in the world ranking, he has fallen to No. 894 going into the final event of 2007.
FINAL WORD: "I like time off, but I golf. So that's why we play." Mark Calcavecchia on playing in the Fall Series.