That means Howell has no PGA Tour or even Buy.com Tour status. Those spots go to Q-School finalists from the medallist to 35th place and ties for the big tour, and 36 to 50 for Buy.com.
Surely that's disappointing for the power-hitting Howell, who has showed promise since his days as an amateur growing up in Augusta, Ga. But how about Callaway Golf? Callaway recently signed Howell to a big multi-year club and ball endorsement deal. The parties are mum, but the deal is said by some sources to be worth more than a $1 million per year.
Seems Callaway thinks Howell will be worth the risk. The deal had no contingencies requiring Howell to get his Tour card, reports his agent, Rocky Hambric of Dallas-based Hambric Sports Management. A Callaway spokesman confirmed it.
That endorsement money will finance Howell's campaign to play his way onto the Tour with sponsors' exemptions on both the PGA Tour and the Buy.com Tour. He'll also take a crack at some purses in Australia and Japan.
WHAT A WEB HE WEAVES: Used to be you had to be a pretty big star to get your own website, but now winning two straight Holden Australian Opens seems to be enough. Successful defender Aaron Baddeley is taking advantage of the web savvy of his U.S. agents, Gaylord Sports Management, with his new site, www.badds.com. With the information world moving so fast in and out of golf, it may be a disadvantage for rookies to not have websites. Doesn't hurt for veterans either. Check out Gaylord client Phil Mickelson's site at www.mickelson.com.
FIRST THINGS FIRST: An alternate title might be, 'This We've Gotta See.' Golf course architect Bobby Weed says the new Golf Club at Fleming Island near Jacksonville, Fla. was laid out before the homes surrounding it were planned. Usually it's the other way around, and the golf course architect must deal with whatever cramped routing space the developer hands him. Weed says the design freedom allowed him to create a more pleasing golf experience, with homes on only one side of most holes.
The cooperative builder was Centex Homes, whose work is well-known throughout Florida. Let's hope this sort of developmental behavior starts a trend in the southeast, where it's usually impossible to play a round at an upscale daily fee course without hearing a saw or a nail gun on your backswing.
This is the fourth Weed design to open in 2000. The others were in Bristol, Va., St. Paul, Minn. and Glen Mills, Pa.
STAT DU JOUR: The PGA Tour said at last week's Golf 20/20 conference that its fan base - that is, the percentage of all sports fans who like golf - is now just under 44 percent. The goal for the year 2020 is 68 percent, which is comparable to what the National Football League has now.