Notes Big Perk Going to FedEx Cup Winner

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The winner of the FedExCup not only gets $10 million, but a five-year exemption on the PGA TOUR.
 
If that sounds like a nice perk, it really isn't.
 
In a category that gets overlooked because it has never been used, the PGA TOUR has always offered a five-year exemption to the winner of the money title.
 
'We're just mirroring that with an exemption for the FedExCup,' said Andy Pazder, vice president of competition for the PGA TOUR.
 
Pazder could not recall any player needing to lean on his five-year exemption for winning the money title, noting that those who win a money title usually have higher status from winning a major or The Players Championship, which also come with five-year exemptions. That holds true even five years removed from the money title.
 
Hal Sutton won the money title in 1983, but his slump that led him to use a one-time exemption for career money didn't come until 1992. David Duval won the money title in 1999, and he fell out of the top 200 on the money list five years later. But by then, he had won the British Open and earned a five-year exemption that ran out this year.
 
'I've been here 11 years, and no one has ever needed that exemption,' Pazder said. 'Maybe it's because Tiger has won the money list every year but two.'
 
Make that three -- Vijay Singh won in 2003 and 2004, and Duval won in '99.
 
The rest of the money titles have gone to players who have proven to be the best of their generations. In the last 50 years, Frank Beard in 1969 is the only player to capture the money list who never won a major.
 
Starting next year, the PGA TOUR will offer five-year exemptions to the winner of the money list and the FedExCup.
 
As for that $10 million check, senior vice president Ric Clarson disclosed last week that it would be deferred into a retirement plan.
 
LATE ARRIVAL
Ryan Armour will be among 17 rookies on the PGA TOUR next year after making it through Q-school, and his name is sure to conjure up memories from his amateur days.
 
He was 17 when he beat 14-year-old Charles Howell III in the 1993 U.S. Junior Amateur, advancing to the finals to take on two-time defending champion Tiger Woods. The match was all square until Armour made a 40-foot birdie to win the 15th hole, then went 2 up when Woods three-putted the 16th.
 
Woods, however, birdied the last two holes to square the match, then won with a par on the first extra hole to make history as the only player to win three straight U.S. Junior Amateurs. He went on to better things.
 
Armour is just getting started.
 
WOMEN'S WORLD CUP
The World Cup began in 1953 and used to be the premier team event in golf that brought together not only countries, but their superstars.
 
Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer won six times (four as partners), Davis Love III and Fred Couples won a record four straight years, and even Tiger Woods got in on the act until the PGA TOUR changed the rules and no longer let him pick his partner. The last three years, however, some of the biggest names have stayed home.
 
The Women's World Cup has been around two years, and already is losing its top players. It returns to South Africa on Jan. 19-21, but none of the top four players in the world will be there.
 
Sweden won last year behind Annika Sorenstam and Liselotte Neumann, but Sorenstam won't be returning. Mexico will not have a team because LPGA Tour player of the year Lorena Ochoa has decided not to play. Karrie Webb of Australia will pass for the second straight year, meaning Australia will be represented by Nikki Garrett and Lindsey Wright.
 
The top American, Cristie Kerr, is not going. The United States instead will be represented by Juli Inkster and Pat Hurst.
 
Of the 22 teams competing, Inkster is the only player from the top 10 in the women's world ranking, and there will be only eight players from among the top 50.
 
RICHES TO RAGS
Tiger Woods had never heard of Y.E. Yang until the South Korean beat him by two shots in Shanghai last month. His name is sure to come up in early April, particularly by American players who think the world ranking favors international players.
 
Yang had a good year on the Japan PGA Tour, winning the Suntory Open and finishing runner-up in two other events. He also won the Hana Korea Open on the Asian Tour. But by winning the HSBC Champions against a field that included three of the top five players (Woods, Jim Furyk and Retief Goosen), Yang climbed well into the top 50.
 
He was at No. 34 this week, assuring he will stay in the top 50 and get an invitation to the Masters.
 
But while he will play in the Masters, Yang didn't come close to making it through PGA Tour qualifying school.
 
Three weeks after his victory in Shanghai, Yang shot rounds of 72-76-71-73 and was in a tie for 106th -- well out of contention -- when he was disqualified in the fifth round Sunday for signing an incorrect scorecard.
 
DIVOTS
Robert Ames warmed up for the World Cup last month by playing in the Brazil Classic on the Tours de las Americas. The brother (and caddie) of Stephen Ames opened with a 79, then played 3 under the rest of the week to tie for 10th. The Ames will represent Trinidad and Tobago at the World Cup in Barbados this week. ... Michael Allen made it through PGA TOUR Q-school for a record ninth time in 12 trips. ... Ayaka Kaneko, a 16-year-old from Honolulu, says she will try to qualify for the Sony Open. Michelle Wie, 17, already has received a sponsor's exemption to play the PGA TOUR event for the fourth straight year. ... The cutoff for making the U.S. Solheim Cup team will be Aug. 26 after the Safeway Classic in Portland, Ore., two weeks before the tournament is held in Sweden. ... Kathy Whitworth, winner of a record 88 tournaments on the LPGA Tour, will be inducted into the Albuquerque/New Mexico Sports Hall of Fame in February. Whitworth won the New Mexico State Amateur two straight years before turning pro.
 
STAT OF THE WEEK
Rich Barcelo was the only player in the final stage of PGA TOUR qualifying to break par in all six rounds.
 
FINAL WORD
'I've never made it to Oakmont, but of all the tournaments I've ever played, no golf course was harder than Winged Foot.' -- Tiger Woods.
 
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