Why I deserve an exemption

Tuesday June 12th, 2007

Mark Brazil
Tournament Director
Forest Oaks Country Club
4600 Forest Oaks Drive
Greensboro, N.C. 27406

Dear Mr. Brazil:

You don't know me, so I'll get right to the point. I'd like to play in the upcoming Wyndham Championship on a sponsor's exemption. And as I understand it, you're the man who gets to pick four players who don't otherwise qualify under PGA Tour rules.

Before you toss this in the wastebasket, please hear me out. I know that sponsor's exemptions usually go to established touring pros with local ties or to hotshot youngsters with gallery appeal. I, on the other hand, am 60 years old, play to a 10 handicap and can't beat half the guys at Kansas City's Swope Memorial Golf Club, where I play on a senior-discount, no-weekend-or-holiday-mornings annual pass.

But I can watch TV as well as the next guy, and it seems to me that every tour event these days has either Michelle Wie or John Daly playing on a sponsor's exemption. Now, I'm not saying I can beat either of them on my best day. (Although, come to think of it, I might have beaten Wie two weeks ago at the LPGA's Ginn Tribute, where the teenage pro came within hailing distance of a first-round 90 before walking off the course with a dangerously unswollen wrist.) Daly, in particular, often breaks 80. He's No. 318 in the World Ranking, and he shot an even-par 70 in the first round of last week's Stanford St. Jude Championship. He might have done even better on Day Two if his wife hadn't attacked him with a steak knife before breakfast and then run off with the kids, as he tells it.

So here's why you should make me a sponsor's pick: I won't embarrass you. I won't withdraw on Friday afternoon, pleading heat exhaustion or camera-induced dystonia, when I'm 10 strokes over the cut line with eight holes to play. I won't hockey-stick the ball around the greens for two days and then race to the nearest Hooters to sign ball caps and boobs. I'll give you two solid rounds of 90; I'll have a beer with the sponsors in their hospitality tent; and I'll thank you afterward.

And who knows? If you also invite Wie and Daly, I just might finish as "second-to-low unrestricted-sponsor's invitee."

Crossing my fingers while waiting for your response, I am...

John Garrity
Senior Writer

P.S. If the answer is yes, please call me before informing the other media. I don’t want those blowhards to scoop me.

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