Tour officials will decide next week whether to freeze the top 30 players in the FedExCup, which ends after the TOUR Championship. But there's a chance that someone who qualified for East Lake on points might not be among the top 30 on the PGA TOUR money list.
Why does that matter?
Because the British Open currently offers exemptions to the top 20 on the PGA Tour money list, the U.S. Open exempts the top 30 and the Masters sends invitations to the top 40.
'I think that's one of the questions being asked. Are the majors going to follow our system and go off FedExCup points, or will it continue the rest of the year and they go off the money list?' David Toms said. 'Maybe they should go off the money list. That will encourage guys to play in the fall.'
Lucas Glover finished at No. 21 on the money list, about $30,000 behind Brett Quigley. He probably would qualify for the British Open by staying in the top 50 in the world the following year, but he might consider playing a fall tournament or two to sew up the exemption.
Ditto for those around the top 30 in money, and especially those around top 40.
PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem said he is speaking with officials from the USGA, R&A and Augusta National. The PGA of America uses a points list based on money earned from the end of the PGA Championship to the next one.
'I would have to think it would be a money list thing,' Glover said. 'In my opinion, if they're smart, they'll make it that way. If guys are 'bubbling,' they would play those last six events. That would be the incentive to play, because you would still have guys moving and shaking.'
ON THE MARKET
David Toms has been playing Cleveland golf clubs since the late 1990s, blossoming into one of the stars on the PGA TOUR.
Odds are, he'll be using a new set of clubs next year.
Toms and others in the Cleveland stable say the company will not be renewing any contract that expires this year, with the biggest name in that group being Toms.
'I'm not sure what's going to happen,' Toms said. Asked if he was shopping around, he replied, 'Yes, which is kind of a bummer.'
'It's strictly a business decision with them,' Toms said. 'It's not to say I won't be with them in some capacity next year. I'm trying to work through those kinds of things right now. I think they are cutting back, and I happen to be one of the guys up for renewal.'
One option is to sign a corporate deal for his hat, the most visible billboard a player can offer. Toms said that might free him up to play whatever equipment suits him best.
'I know what I won't do is play something I'm not comfortable with,' he said. 'Sometimes you take less money as long as you're confident you can play well with that equipment. I won't do anything off the wall, I can promise you that.'
Jack Stephens, the late Masters chairman, was once asked for an update on whether Augusta National would ever extend its broadcast hours on Sunday to show the front nine. He said that progress remained slow. Asked to elaborate, the Arkansas oilman delivered this dandy:
'Well, progress is slow because we don't want it to happen.'
One can only wonder if that's how the PGA TOUR feels about drug testing.
PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem has taken a hard-line stand against testing without measurable evidence, although board member Joe Durant said drug testing was discussed at a Player Advisory Committee meeting two weeks ago about 'setting some type of standard.'
'There's obviously different criteria or different screening done for different sports,' Durant said. 'We just want to make sure that we go about it the right way. I would be surprised if it didn't happen at some point in the future.'
ABC Sports signed off on its final official PGA TOUR event Sunday at the Tour Championship, having declined to bid on the tour's six-year TV deal that starts next year.
To mark the occasion, former executive producer Mark Loomis and lead announcer Mike Tirico flew into Atlanta for a dinner party Thursday night. Tirico came from the West Coast, then immediately returned for his next assignment.
Loomis previously left for the NFL Network.
And while ABC still has the Target World Challenge in December, it likely was the final appearance of Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger, which might come as a relief to the brass at PGA TOUR headquarters.
During Thursday's telecast, Nick Faldo noted that Stephen Ames received unofficial, last-place money because he withdrew with an injury, prompting him to wonder what happened to the money available with Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson not playing.
'I thought it went to the commissioner,' Azinger said.
Furman Bisher, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution sports columnist who has covered the Masters every year since 1950, turned 88 on Saturday. 'A double snowman on your scorecard doesn't look very good, but when it's your birthday, you're doing all right,' he said. ... While the TOUR Championship featured eight players who had not won, there were 13 PGA Tour winners who were not at East Lake last week ... Greg Norman will make his debut in the Father-Son Challenge on Dec. 2-3 in Orlando, Fla., playing his son, Gregory. Players must have won a major to be eligible. ... Lorena Ochoa has to finish sixth or better this week to mathematically eliminate Annika Sorenstam from the LPGA Tour player-of-the-year race. Sorenstam has won the award the last five years.
STAT OF THE WEEK
Adam Scott hit the final shot of the 2006 season by tapping in for par to win the TOUR Championship. He will hit the first shot of the 2007 season as the last player to qualify for the winners-only Mercedes-Benz Championship.
'You're asking the wrong person. Neither one looks like me.' -- Jim Furyk, asked to compare the golf swings of Tiger Woods and Adam Scott.
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