SAN DIEGO (AP) — David Duval went from the sixth alternate at Torrey Pines to receiving a sponsor’s exemption to withdrawing from the Farmers Insurance Open, all within a span of about 24 hours.
Missing from this strange sequence of events is that Duval had already been rejected once. When the exemption was awarded to him Monday night, his West Coast schedule already was set.
“It was entirely unplanned,” Duval said Tuesday from his home in Denver. “I had written for an exemption and was turned down, and other things fell into place.”
The former British Open champion ran out of status last year when he failed to finish in the top 125 on the money list and didn’t earn a card from Q-school. He is having to rely on sponsor exemptions and his status as a past champion, and he’s having relatively good success.
Just not in San Diego.
The PGA Tour players who initially received exemptions to Torrey Pines were John Daly, Rocco Mediate and Billy Mayfair. The tournament had two extra exemptions to award Monday, and gave them to Duval and Tom Pernice Jr.
Duval missed the cut Sunday at the Bob Hope Classic, flew home with his family and then learned a spot was waiting for him in San Diego. Trouble is, he already has accepted exemptions to Los Angeles and Pebble Beach, and he’s in the tournament in Mexico. To play in San Diego would have meant five straight weeks.
“That not conducive to your golf game, mental game, anything,” Duval said. “I feel bad about it, but I already had been turned down once and I had to build my schedule around that.”
LUMPY’S LAMENT: Tim Herron lost his PGA Tour card for the first time in his career, and decided not to take a one-time exemption for being among the top 50 in career money.
He’s starting to regret the decision.
Herron has received only one sponsor exemption on the West Coast swing, to the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am where his partner is comedian-actor Bill Murray. He has yet to play an event this year, although it’s not from a lack of effort.
Herron flew to Honolulu for a Monday qualifier and missed out. He left his Minnesota home for San Diego for another Monday qualifier, took triple bogey on his third hole, and missed out again.
“Now that I’m looking back at it, I’m not sure it was the right thing,” Herron said. “I’ve been through Monday qualifying, I’m not getting exemptions. It’s a lot more difficult than I thought.”
Herron is a four-time winner on the PGA Tour, his most recent victory in 2006 at the Colonial. He is known mainly for his waistline and the nickname that comes with it – “Lumpy” – but concedes it’s a tough year for exemptions. Among those looking for spots are John Daly, Chris DiMarco, David Duval, Billy Mayfair and Tom Pernice Jr.
Why not take his one-time exemption?
“I thought I would just regroup this year, get in better shape, reorganize a little bit,” Herron said. “I played 15 hard years, and I thought if I could play 20 or so tournaments, it might be good for me.”
Tugging at him is a young family – 7-year-old Carson and 4-year-old twins, Mick and P.J.
Tour officials told Herron that it was probable he would remain in the top 50 in career money after this year, although that was no guarantee. What should work in his favor is that Herron (along with players such as Pernice and Duval) went through Q-school last year.
“I was hoping there would be more exemptions. I’m very grateful to the ones who have given them to me,” he said, citing the Honda Classic as an example. “But there’s a lot of good players in my position who deserve them, too.”
CHARITY BOOST: In a tough year for charity, Billy Andrade and Brad Faxon had a record year in New England.
The Andrade-Faxon Charities for Children distributed more than $321,135 to 52 organizations that serve at-risk children in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts.
Money comes from their CVS Charity Classic in the summer and from individual contributions. They have awarded more than $4 million since they created the charity in 1994.
“These grants will help meet the basic needs of our community’s children,” Faxon said. “We try to lessen the burden of hunger and illness so kids can be kids.”
VETERANS: Bobby Mitchell, a two-time winner on the PGA Tour, once showed up at Quail Hollow as a 60-year-old who was the 61st alternate. Because so many alternates didn’t show up, he was next in line when the final group teed off.
That wouldn’t happen under a new policy in the PGA Tour regulations this year.
To be eligible as an alternate as a past champion or a veteran (making 150 cuts in a career), a player must have signed up for Q-school at least one of the previous two years, made a cut on the PGA Tour or Nationwide Tour in the previous two calendar years, or played in five or more tournaments on either tour the previous year.
The change figures to help Lance Ten Broeck, the caddie for Jesper Parnevik who played in the Texas Open last year under such circumstances. He gets credit for playing the Texas Open in 2009. Plus, he played the Reno-Tahoe Open and a Champions Tour event in Minnesota in 2008.
DIVOTS: The LPGA Tour added another tournament to its schedule with the Sybase Match Play Championship, to be played May 20-23 at Hamilton Farm Golf Club in New Jersey. The purse will be $1.5 million. … The PGA Tour’s final tally for charity in 2009 was $108 million, with the Valero Texas Open the top tournament at $8 million. … Jennifer Song, who won the U.S. Women’s Amateur and U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links last year, was among seven amateurs to receive an invitation to the Kraft Nabisco Championship on April 1-4, the first LPGA major. Others were Cydney Clanton, Jennifer Johnson, Kimberly Kim, Jessica Korda, Candace Schepperle and Alexis Thompson. … Paul Lawrie signed an equipment deal with Wilson Golf. Lawrie last played Wilson when he won the British Open at Carnoustie in 1999. … Four weeks into the PGA Tour season, Pat Perez is the only player to enter every event this year.
STAT OF THE WEEK: Tim Clark has more runner-up finishes (eight) than any other active player without a PGA Tour victory. Next on the list is Brett Quigley with five.
FINAL WORD: “Second is a loss. I don’t think I’ll ever be satisfied with a second-place finish.” – Nick Watney.