Duval used a one-time exemption as top 25 on the career money list to keep his card this year, but it looked as though it might go to waste when his wife was put on bed rest in February because of complications with her pregnancy. Duval felt his responsibility was at home to care for his wife and four children, and he did not play for more than seven months.
Hart withdrew from the Wachovia Championship in May when his wife became seriously ill, and he stayed home with their 5-year-old triplets as his wife recovered. She is doing better, but Hart has not played since late April.
Duval, whose daughter Sienna was born two months ago and is healthy, originally asked the tour about an extension in May and was denied based on the letter of the regulation. PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem was concerned that granting an exemption in his case might open the TOUR up to a bevy of other petitions.
But after the policy board met in late May, there was enough sentiment to take another look.
'David wanted us to look past him,' said Davis Love III, a policy board member.
The result is 'family crisis' being part of the medical extension regulations, and both Duval and Hart will be eligible.
'He's treated as if he had a back injury,' said Andy Pazder, the TOUR's vice president of competition.
Duval returned to competition last week at the Viking Classic, where he tied for 44th, and he plans to play one more event in the Fall Series. His schedule next year will be based on the average number of starts among the top 125 on the money list this year.
'It's the right thing,' Duval said last week. 'I actually got thanked for bringing this up. I said to them a couple of months ago, whether they make it retroactive or not, it needs to be done.'
As for other situations that might arise? Pazder said like any medical extension request, the decision lies with Finchem.
'It's got to be a serious family crisis,' he said. 'It's a hardship caused by the illness of immediate family.'
TIGER'S MATCH-PLAY RECORD:
Tiger Woods won his first match in a professional cup competition in 1997 when he and Mark O'Meara beat Colin Montgomerie and Bernhard Langer in fourballs at Valderrama.
That was the only time Woods has had a winning record.
He lost his next two matches, and has spent the rest of his career with an aggregate losing record. Woods finally got his Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup record back to .500 with a fourballs victory at Royal Montreal with David Toms in Saturday afternoon fourballs. A victory over Mike Weir would have given Woods a winning record for the first time in 10 years.
But he lost, and now stands at 23-24-3.
That wasn't a subtle statement Phil Mickelson made by wearing soft spikes against Vijay Singh.
Their frosty relationship turned arctic two years ago at the Masters when Singh complained that Mickelson and his 8-millimeter spikes were ruining the greens. During a rain delay, they got into a heated argument in the Champions locker room at Augusta National.
Mickelson, however, said he switched over to soft spikes about the time he went to work with Butch Harmon.
'We changed my foot work,' Mickelson said. 'I started practicing in soft spikes and started playing in soft spikes in my practice round and didn't switch. What I found was it felt better on my back.'
Mickelson said he still plans to use metal spikes, but he prefers soft spikes when playing 36 holes, such as the Presidents Cup.
'I only had one shot this week were I slipped, so that's encouraging,' he said. 'When I swing harder at it, I've been all over the place in the past, and now I'm able to maintain better balance.'
Don't think metal spikes didn't cross his mind for the Sunday singles at Royal Montreal.
'I thought about it just for today,' Mickelson said. 'I thought that would be funny. But I couldn't find any.'
Lorena Ochoa needs to finish sixth or better at the Longs Drugs Challenge to become the first $3 million woman in golf. ... Charles Howell III was the only player who never reached the 18th hole at the Presidents Cup. ... Angela Park has clinched the LPGA Tour rookie of the year award. Park has six top 10s this year, and the 20-year-old Brazilian native is ninth on the money list with $847,933. ... Former USGA agronomist Tim Moraghan has launched a new company called Aspire Golf Consulting, which will provide services ranging from golf course tournament preparation to turf management to golf course planning. ... The first stage of European Tour qualifying school will be held in Scotland for the first time, played at Dundonald Links just north of Royal Troon. The links course is owned by Lyle Anderson as a sister course of Loch Lomond.
STAT OF THE WEEK:
Three players at the Presidents Cup have been medalists at Q-school -- Woody Austin (1994), Scott Verplank (1997) and Mike Weir (1998).
'For my money, he's the best competitor and friend I've had in golf.' -- Jack Nicklaus, on Gary Player.
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