Just as the “official” golf season in Michigan has arrived, so too does the end of the PGA Tour’s campaign. This week’s Children’s Miracle Network Classic in Disney World will be the last official Tour event until January.
I couldn’t care less about most of the fall series events, but this one has a number of interesting storylines.
First, there are any number of players who desperately need to play well this weekend to keep their tour card. Among them: David Duval, who is sitting right on the bubble at 125—and still insisting that he’s playing well enough to win Majors. He almost did, of course, at the US Open. There’s also Ricky Barnes, who like Duval, finished second at this year’s US Open. He’s at 121, and needs to make sure he doesn’t get bumped out.
Another interesting story is that of two time heart transplant patient Erik Compton. He was given an exemption into last year’s Miracle Network Classic and finished sixtieth. A week ago, he finished atop the first stage of PGA Tour qualifying school by seven strokes. A win here would get him his tour card without returning to “school.”
The Kodak Challenge also ends this week. The challenge is a meta-game—a tournament contained within, and across the PGA Tour season. Kodak has picked thirty holes from across the various tour events, each selected for its beauty and connection to golf history. At season’s end, the player with the lowest eighteen hole score from across the thirty challenge holes wins a cool million dollars.
Right now, Kevin Streelman is in line for that big check, posting a 16-under par on the Kodak holes for the season. He will keep the lead unless one of his nearest challengers, Nathan Green, J.J. Henry and Bo Van Pelt, manage to Eagle the hole, and Streelman can’t match the feat.
And for its end-of-season position, the field isn’t all that bad. The media superstars are absent, but six 2009 Tour winners will tee it up, including, Michael Bradley, Brian Gay, Zach Johnson, Brian Gay, John Rollins and Bo Van Pelt. Gay and Johnson have two wins each. Several major champions also are scheduled to appear, including Duval, Johnson, Davis Love, Rich Beem, Mark Calcavecchia, Steve Elkington, Todd Hamilton, Lee Janzen, Tom Lehman and Corey Pavin.
Crowd favorite Rocco Mediate also is on the list.