Bubbling Up on Tour


The bubbles are upon us. All we need is a little Lawrence Welk music. If you are too young to remember Lawrence Welk, Google him. Remember, bubbles.
There are two more chances for the PGA Tour rank and file to get or keep their cards: This weeks Chrysler Championship, followed by next weeks storm-delayed Southern Farm Bureau Classic.
Chrysler is the last opportunity for players to make the top 30 and gain entrance into next weeks prestigious Tour Championship.
And lets not forget that the Euros are playing the Volvo Masters at Valderrama in Spain. Colin Montgomerie, 42, is 153,487 euros ahead of Michael Campbell in that tours Order of Merit race which concludes Sunday. At stake are Europes official money list and the unofficial title of world Comeback Player of the Year.
Meanwhile back at Tampa, the Chrysler event is of crucial importance to Rocco Mediate. He sits squarely at No. 125 on the money list. And its not as if he hasnt been grinding. Mediates run of 15 straight rounds of par or better on the PGA Tour is the longest current streak of its kind. Alex Cejka, also in the field at Tampa, is on the money lists 150 bubble.
Then theres Charles Howell III, affectionately known to some as Chuckie Threesticks (Get it? Charles III?). Last year, Howell wound up on the outside looking in at the Tour Championship when he finished 33rd on the money list. The two years prior to that he wound up 14th and ninth. At the moment he is on the bubble at No. 30. Howell played the Funai Classic last week near Orlando and didnt move up or down. Chrysler will be his 28th event of the year. Like Mediate, Howell is grinding.
For his part, Montgomerie dominated European golf in the '90s, capturing seven straight Orders of Merit from 1993 through 1999. Then his game began to deteriorate. His marriage fell apart and he plummeted out of top 50 in the Official World Golf Rankings.
Despite the fact that Montgomerie has been consistently heroic in Ryder Cup play, he is better known in the States for having never won here; for having never won a major championship; and for having a pair of rabbit ears the size of a television tower antenna.
Not all of this has been fair. But this week is Montys chance to show the world there is something significant left in his tank. Never mind the price of gas.
One more thing about bubbles: You might have noticed that Tim Herron currently ranks 40th on the money list. You might know that the top 40 on that list get automatic invitations to next years Masters.
Worry not for the player they call Lumpy. Herron finished tied for 11th at Augusta earlier this year. His target this week is, like Howells, the top 30.
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