MARANA, Arizona (AP) — Anthony Kim was on the far end of the practice range knowing that his chances of playing in the Accenture Match Play Championship were thinner than the mountain air above Tucson on Wednesday.
Kim was the first alternate, and he had to wait five hours to make sure no one withdrew.
He also was the first casualty of the PGA Tour’s new cut policy that limits the weekend field when more than 78 players make the cut.
Kim was among 19 players at 1-over par at the Buick Invitational who did not get to play the final two grounds because the cut was 85 players. He was awarded official last-place money ($9,880) and FedEx Cup points (47).
What he could have used were world ranking points.
When qualifying for the Match Play ended, Kim was at No. 66 in the world, a mere 0.004 points behind J.B. Holmes.
“Justin Leonard was one shot ahead of me and he finished fifth,” Kim said.
There’s no telling what Kim would have shot on the weekend at Torrey Pines. It was his 77 on the South Course in the second round that caused him to get the most notorious acronym on tour — MDF, which stands for made the cut did not finish.
World ranking points were awarded to the top 56 that week, meaning Kim had to shoot only 74-74 on the weekend to get something. And because he has played only 34 events the last two years, his divisor will be the minimum 40 for two more months. In other words, whenever he earns any points, his ranking only can go up.
Kim thought he would make the field anyway because Ernie Els had said he would not come to Dove Mountain this year. The Big Easy changed his mind last week, meaning Kim went from a possible first-round match with Tiger Woods to an alternate who only got privileges on the practice range.
He had said last week at Riviera he would not come to Arizona, then showed how much he is maturing by changing his mind.
“If I had gotten the call in Dallas at 7 a.m. and not been here, that would have been foolish,” he said.
As for the MDF at Torrey Pines? Kim says he has no one to blame but himself. He knew the cut policy when he teed off in the first round and was solely responsible for his score.
The question he has now is what the policy board should consider when it meets on Monday to decide whether to revise the cut rule. If already one person has been affected, is it fair to change the policy in the middle of a season?
BOO’S WORLD: Boo Weekley reckons he hasn’t competed in match play since something called the Pensacola Scratch Open, so there were a few moments of confusion.
Martin Kaymer missed an 8-foot birdie putt on the first hole and stooped to pick up the ball, looking back at Weekley when he didn’t hear anything. Weekley was at a loss, too.
“He’s looking at me saying, ‘This good?’ I didn’t know you could pick your ball up,” Weekley said. “Dazed and confused. Just like that movie. That’s me. Dazed and confused.”
Next up for Weekley is Sergio Garcia, and the consolation is that Weekley doesn’t have to keep score.
He marked the wrong score for Garcia at the PGA Championship last year. Garcia was in such a rush to leave he didn’t notice the error, and was disqualified after the first round for signing an incorrect card.
“That’s one less thing to worry about,” Weekley said. “That’s one less thing for me to foul up.”
TOUGH TOMS: It’s not quite up there with death and taxes, but David Toms advancing out of the first round is becoming a habit.
He faced a tough opponent on Wednesday in Masters champion Zach Johnson — they were a combined 7 under on the front nine — but pulled away on the back for a 2-and-1 victory.
This was his ninth Match Play event, and the ninth consecutive time Toms has won in the first round, the longest streak in tournament history. Nick O’Hern is next, winning his match to make it five straight.
Toms won the tournament in 2005, and improved his record to 23-7, second only to Woods’ mark of 26-6.
“I’ve just played well in a lot of the matches,” Toms said. “Other times, I’ve just gotten by. That’s the way match play is.”
Toms said his back began hurting toward the end of the match, and he sought treatment when he was done. He plays Aaron Baddeley in the second round.
TWO PUTTERS: Sergio Garcia, who has struggled with his putting over the last several years, went to a backup plan on Wednesday. He took out his 3-iron and carried two putters.
Garcia used the conventional putter through 14 holes, but after missing a par putt, went to the belly putter.
“I decided to go the safe route the last couple of holes,” Garcia said after his 3-and-2 victory over John Senden.
He said he has carried two putter once before, but the strategy was surprising to Paul Casey.
“Hang on. He had a short putter and went to a long one?” Casey said. “Didn’t Phil have two drivers at one stage?”
Mickelson indeed carried two drivers when he won his first Masters in 2004.
DIVOTS: The bad timing award goes to Robert Karlsson, who shot a 7-under 65 and lost to Paul Casey, who had a 64. Neither made a bogey. … South Africa began the tournament with six players, and only Trevor Immelman made it past the opening round. Ernie Els, Rory Sabbatini, Retief Goosen, Richard Sterne and Tim Clark all were beaten. … The Honda Classic has awarded a sponsor’s exemption to Tadd Fujikawa, the high school student from Honolulu. It will be his third start this year (Sony Open, Pebble Beach) and another chance to make his first cut since he turned pro last summer.