More Tour cards to Nationwide pros?; Kim hits streak of bad luck

More Tour cards to Nationwide pros?; Kim hits streak of bad luck

Even as the guys on the Nationwide
Tour were battling it out at
the Tour Championship to see
who would finish in the top 25
and graduate to the PGA Tour
next year, their predecessors
were making it easier for future
Nationwiders
to make the jump.

In 2010 the number of exemptions
allotted to the feeder tour
could rise to 30 but there is no definite plan now. “If you look at the
stats, the players on the Nationwide
tour have outperformed
those from qualifying school.
We want to reward yearlong
performance,” says Nationwide
commissioner Bill Calfee.

An immediate
change would have been
welcomed by Ricky Barnes, the
2002 U.S. Amateur champ who
came into the week 22nd on the
money list but fell to 26th during
Sunday’s final round. Luckily
for Barnes, though, two players
who had passed him went into
reverse down the stretch, and
Barnes took the 25th spot. Last
year’s Amateur champ, Colt
Knost, needed no such help,
easily making the grade (sixth),
and 2003 Am runner-up
Casey
Wittenberg (16th) also moved up.

In an ironic twist, Nick Flanagan,
the man who beat Wittenberg
in the Amateur, missed the cut
at Disney and will head back to
Q school after losing his card.

Who else will be coming to a
PGA Tour event near you? Bryce
Molder (who tied for third at TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney, Texas,
to skyrocket from 32nd to 23rd in
money), Arjun Atwal (17th), Greg
Chalmers (eighth) and Brandon
de Jonge (second) all boomerang
their way back to the big show.

Further, Ultimate Game winner
Scott Piercy, D.A. Weibring’s son,
Matt, and Spencer Levin each
gets his first shot.

• Tough times for Anthony Kim.
A few weeks ago he rolled his right
ankle at a friend’s house so badly
that he thought it was broken.

Then last week he was horseback
riding when his mount reared
up and caused him to hurt his
jaw so badly that he couldn’t
eat
anything but noodles.

Still nursing
both injuries, he teed it up at
last week’s HSBC Champions in
Shanghai, where he shot 65-73
in the first two rounds to sit five
shots off the lead. (Sergio Garcia
shot 274 then beat Oliver Wilson in
a playoff.) As Kim walked down
the 7th fairway of the Sheshan
International Golf Club in the
third round, he was tapping his
driver on the ground when the
club dinked a sprinkler head.

Kim didn’t
notice any damage,
but at the next hole his first drive
went about 150 yards and O.B.
He reteed, hit another stinker and
took an eight on the hole. Two
holes later he consulted an official
who informed him that he’d
have to be disqualified for playing
with an altered club (Rule 4.3b).

“I was pretty shocked,” Kim said,
“but the rules are the rules, and I
have no problem with that.”

• Annika Sorenstam is leaving
the game, but she’s going out
smelling like a rose, sort of. Sorenstam
won last week’s Suzhou
Taihu Ladies Open, a Ladies
European tour event in China,
and the week before that she announced
a partnership with SA
Fragrances in Boston, which will
develop a perfume “inspired by
legendary golfer Annika Sorenstam”
to be available by Mother’s
Day.

Mom will love the scent of
Annika in the morning; it smells
like . . . victory.