Given a late exemption - provided he played in a Monday pro-am - Wilson was thrust into the spotlight when he and Aaron Barber were paired with Annika Sorenstam as she became the first woman in 58 years to compete on the PGA Tour.
The media frenzy following Sorenstam made it tough to play, but Wilson embraced the occasion. He was supportive of Sorenstam, even buying a Go Annika button to wear during the first two rounds. Wilson, a 34-year-old Hawaiian, shot 71-67 in that cauldron to make the cut, and he finished tied for 21st.
His graciousness apparently went unnoticed.
Wilson wrote a letter asking for an exemption from Colonial, and was disappointed to learn he had been passed over.
I was counting on that, Wilson said. It was sad not getting that.
Choosing who gets the exemptions is difficult every week. Some players have a local connection; others are past champions, or former PGA Tour winners no longer exempt. Colonial chairman Dee Finley said about 60 players asked for exemptions this year.
Im looking at the list ... and 18 on the current money list are higher than Dean, Finley said late Monday afternoon. We gave him very serious consideration because of the wonderful experience last year. Its a tough choice.
Still, Wilson deserved better.
Some players say its tough to play with Tiger Woods in a circus atmosphere, with photographers scrambling for the best angle and fans leaving after he putts out. It was a three-ring circus with Sorenstam, yet Wilson made the most of it. Having not won yet on the PGA Tour, he is best known as the guy who played with Annika.
Sorenstam wont be at Colonial. Sadly, it appears Wilson wont be, either.
Finley said it was possible another exemption could become available if someone qualifies for the Colonial, and the best he could say was that Wilson is on the short list.
Wilson has never had much luck with sponsor exemptions. He has had most of his success on the Japanese tour, winning six times over three seasons. But Wilson didnt get his first exemption until the Scottish Open in 2002. He even had to Monday qualify for the Sony Open, a hometown tournament.
Even if Jay Haas were not trying to make the Ryder Cup team, it would be difficult to fault the 50-year-old for continuing to compete on the PGA Tour.
Haas is among five guys who have played at least 10 times this year without missing the cut. He came close to winning the Bob Hope Classic, and was in Sunday contention at The Players Championship for the second straight year.
The best measure.
I won more than the leading money winner on the Champions Tour this year, Haas said. Would I be doing the same thing out there? I dont know.
Hes 22nd on the PGA Tour money list with $1,082,757. Gil Morgan is leading the Champions Tour at $871,291.
Haas also is 11th in the Ryder Cup standings. He is not trying to become the oldest player to make the team, he just wants to be part of the matches.
I just like doing this, Haas said. The goal of making the Ryder Cup team, staying in the top 30 (money list) and top 50 in the world ranking, that means more to me right now. Im not trying to prove anything to anyone. Im not trying to be stubborn about it. I feel like Im competitive out there.
Haas will make his Champions Tour debut in the Senior PGA Championship at Valhalla because he believes the majors on the Champions Tour are worth playing.
The interesting choice he faces is after August, when he finds out whether he made the Ryder Cup team.
It may change a little bit, Haas said. But I still want to finish in the top 30. If I play the Champions Tour, I just lose points and Ill drop like a stone.
British Open champion Ben Curtis will get his first look at the links where he will defend his title.
Curtis is leaving for Europe this week, with the first stop Royal Troon on Friday. He plans to play St. Andrews on Saturday (site of the 2005 British Open), followed by Carnoustie (07 Open) on Sunday.
He is playing the Deutsche Bank-SAP Open in Germany the following week, and will stay around for the Volvo PGA Championship at Wentworth before returning to the PGA Tour at the Memorial.
Curtis won the claret jug last year at Royal St. Georges in England, the first player since Francis Ouimet in the 1919 U.S. Open to win a major in his first try.
He also would like to see Shinnecock Hills before the U.S. Open, but that might not work out. His only spare week is after the Memorial, and Curtis is closing on a new house in Jupiter, Fla.
Tom Weiskopf, who won the British Open at Royal Troon in 1973, plans to play for the first time since he missed the cut at the 1995 British Open at St. Andrews. Weiskopf also plans to compete in the Scottish Open the preceding week at Loch Lomond, a course he designed. The only other time he played there was 1996. ... Ticket sales have been so strong that Royal Troon is adding additional grandstands. ... Jay Haas is tied for third on the all-time list with 566 cuts on the PGA Tour. The leader is Tom Kite (586), followed by Ray Floyd (583). ... Even though the John Deere Classic was moved from early September to the week before the British Open, Vijay Singh said he would return to defend his title. ... The Bay Hill Invitational has offered an exemption to the winner of the Southern Amateur, to be played July 14-17 at the Honors Course in Tennessee.
STAT OF THE WEEK
The last time Joey Sindelar won on the PGA Tour, Greg Norman won the money title with $1,165,477. Sindelar won $1.08 million at the Wachovia Championship.
Im starting to think that Shinnecock is my Kryptonite. - U.S. Open champion Jim Furyk, whose wrist injury likely will keep him out of the U.S. Open. The only other time he has missed the U.S. Open was in 1995 at Shinnecock Hills, when he failed to qualify.
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