The Royal & Ancient Golf Club gives PGA Tour players a chance to get into the Open without having to qualify the weekend before in England.
Spots are available for the top eight finishers at the Western Open who are not already exempt, and the top seven players not already exempt from a money list that includes The Players Championship and the five tournaments through the Western.
Victories in the last month by Jonathan Kaye (Buick Classic) and Rory Sabbatini (Capital Open) have moved them to Nos. 3 and 4 on the special money list, making them a lock to get into the British Open.
On the bubble are Sindelar and Lewis, who probably can wrap up a trip to England by finishing in the top 30.
Among those who need a good week are Skip Kendall, Cliff Kresge and Richard Johnson, the Swedish rookie who moved into contention with his tie for third in Memphis.
WEBB HOPES TEENS AREN'T MISSING OUT
Michelle Wie is playing in her sixth LPGA Tour event this week at the U.S. Women's Open, before she starts the ninth grade as a 13-year-old.
Paula Creamer, 16, has already played in two LPGA tournaments, while 17-year-old twins Aree and Naree Song have been playing on the Futures Tour as amateurs.
Karrie Webb has no problems with kids on tour, but she fears they might be robbed of one of the greatest joys: A real rookie season.
Webb didn't play her first LPGA Tour event until she earned her card. At 21, she won four times as a rookie in 1996 and became the first woman to surpass $1 million in a year.
''That was an exciting year for me,'' Webb said. ''Everything was new to me. I would be nervous hitting balls next to Beth Daniel or Nancy Lopez. Being in the locker room with these players was a buzz.''
Wie already knows what it's like to play with Annika Sorenstam, having been in the last group with her and Patricia Meunier-LeBouc at the Nabisco Championship.
Aree Song (known as Wongluekiet at the time) also played in the final group of the Nabisco as a 13-year-old in 2000.
''For someone like a Michelle Wie or the twins, when they play their rookie year, it's going to be a matter of, 'Now, I'm playing for money,''' Webb said. ''It's not going to be that excitement of, 'Oh, my God. I'm playing on the LPGA.'
''It's almost they know they're going to do that, and they're pretty much doing it now. They're just not reaping the financial rewards for it.''
SHORTER IRONS, BIGGER DISTANCE
Juli Inkster finally got the irons she wanted, giving her one week to get ready for the U.S. Women's Open.
Inkster switched to Titleist late last year, but discovered that the clubs were a half-inch longer than standard.
''I don't know why they made them longer, because I've got long arms and I don't need longer clubs,'' she said. ''I had them make standard men's length, and I feel like I can stay down through the ball better.''
She got the new clubs last week and used them for the first time at the ShopRite Classic. While she hit the ball well, she had a hard time dialing in at the right distance.
''I don't know if that was the smart move,'' she said. ''I figured if I'm going to play the Open with them, I need a few rounds.''
THE ANNIKA DIARIES
Annika Sorenstam doesn't plan to write a book about playing at the Colonial, where she became the first woman in 58 years to compete on the PGA Tour.
If she changes her mind, she'll at least have good notes.
''I started to write a diary in January, which I've never done before,'' Sorenstam said. ''It was a way for me to sit down and remember everything.''
She has tried to keep the press clippings and letters from those who supported her venture onto the PGA Tour.
''I'm saving all that and will hopefully put together something like a scrapbook,'' she said.
GOING LOW, NOTHING TO SHOW
Chris DiMarco knows better than anyone on the PGA Tour that posting low numbers doesn't always guarantee winning.
Already this year, DiMarco has shot in the 60s every round without winning at three tournaments -- Sony Open, Phoenix Open and the Honda Classic.
He did the same thing last year at the Hope, Las Vegas and the Disney Classic. Two years ago, DiMarco led the PGA Tour with four tournaments in which he shot every round in the 60s without winning.
At least this year he has some company. Jim Furyk and Joe Durant also have had three tournaments with every round in the 60s and no trophy.
Annika Sorenstam knows what it's like to get burned out at a young age -- in tennis, not golf.
Sorenstam's idol was Mats Wilander, and tennis was her first love.
''Tennis is a very physical sport, and at the time I probably practiced five days a week,'' she said. ''I didn't want to do that for that long. I had other interests -- schools, guys, you name it. There was a lot of things I wanted to do.''
One of them was golf, which she started at age 12.
Davis Love III had to withdraw from the Western Open because of a neck injury. Love has been plagued by neck and back injuries for the past couple of years. ... Sorenstam has signed a two-year extension with Mercedes-Benz. The deal, which started at the ''Battle at Bighorn'' in 2001, was supposed to end this year. Financial terms were not disclosed. Sorenstam also filmed a commercial with Kentucky Fried Chicken. ... David Peoples needed only 99 putts in the St. Jude Classic. The only other player who take fewer than 100 putts in a tournament this year was Chris Riley (95) at the Honda Classic.
STAT OF THE WEEK
Bruce Lietzke became the first multiple winner on the Champions Tour this year by winning the U.S. Senior Open. He previously won the Legends of Golf.
'If I just don't have to see the money right before my eyes, I'll be fine.''
-- Michelle Wie, 13, on her goal of staying an amateur until after college.
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