You Gotta Play Hurt

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PALM COAST, Fla. ' One of golfs hoariest clichs is the one about how you gotta play hurt. In the old days on the PGA Tour playing hurt often meant a guy was nursing a hangover from adult beverages consumed the night before.
 
Jeff Overtons gotta play hurt this week at the Ginn sur Mer Classic because he doesnt have any choice. And, by the way, it has nothing to do with blood alcohol level.
 
He has to play because he ranks No. 126 on the money list with just one event remaining after this week. Hes hurt because he underwent an emergency appendectomy the Tuesday after the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospital for Children Open two Sundays ago.
 
It is what it is, Overton said Wednesday morning. It stinks.
 
The operation followed a fifth place finish earlier this month at the Valero Texas Open and Overton was looking forward to playing the Frys.com Open at the Grayhawk Golf Club in Arizona where he has played a lot of golf.
 
Instead, he found himself on the operating table at the nearby Scottsdale Mayo Clinic where doctors inserted three metal rods through his navel and removed his appendix before it burst.
 
Doctors have told Overton hes risking a possible hernia if he plays this week. And they didnt allow him to start putting and chipping until Monday of this week.
 
Overton, 25, says hes hitting his 8-iron about 120 yards at the moment. But he plans to tee it up Thursday. Its pretty much a pain threshold thing, he said. It feels like Ive done about 500 crunches in my stomach.
 
So these guys are not only good. But these guys are tough. And these guys want their Tour cards.
 
Overton said if he makes it through this week, he plans to play the season finale next week at Disney.
 
He had hoped for a medical extension in 2009 but said the early indications from the Tour are the request will not be granted.
 
In my opinion he should get three events next year to get his card, said Cameron Beckman Wednesday when he learned of Overtons predicament. Beckman was the winner Sunday at the same Frys.com Open Overton had to withdraw from because of the operation.
 
Overton now figures he needs to make somewhere in the area of $40,000 to $50,000 over the next two events to secure his card.
 

TIGER HUNTING
Last week GolfChannel.com reported that the recuperating Tiger Woods could lose his spot atop the world rankings as early as the middle of next March. Since then the order of players closest to Woods ' the chase pack ' has changed dramatically and could shift significantly again this week.
 
Sergio Garcia vaulted to No. 3 in the Official World Golf Ranking last Sunday by winning in Spain and will leapfrog No. 2 Phil Mickelson if he wins the Volvo Masters at Valderrama this week.
 
Garcia will play one more event in China in 2008, will skip the Merecedes Championships in Hawaii and will open his 2009 season with three consecutive events in the middle East at Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Dubai.
 
Mickelson will shut his 2008 season down after events in China and Singapore followed by the Skins Game in California. His people are saying we shouldnt expect to see him again in anything official until the end of January.
 
(By the way, Butch Harmon, Phils swing coach, confirmed to GolfChannel.com that he was not happy that Dave Pelz, Mickelsons short game coach, talked Phil into shelving his driver early on at the U.S. Open last June. Harmon called the decision ridiculous. But he said he and Phil subsequently talked about it and the air is clear.)
 
World No. 4 Vijay Singh is still recovering from forearm tendinitis, but his agent, Clarke Jones, said Singh plans to play in the Del Webb Father-Son and Tigers tournament in December. Jones confirmed Singh still plans to play Merecedes and the Sony Open in early January.
 
According to Jones, neither Garcia nor Singh will adjust their schedules in an attempt to rack up more world ranking points while Woods remains idle. Similarly, a spokesman for Mickelson said Phil doesnt understand how the world rankings work and doesnt care how they work.
 

RANKING SHUFFLE
Almost lost in all the hoopla of Sergio Garcias rise to the No. 3 spot in the Official World Golf Ranking, was the move Yani Tseng made in the womens Rolex Rankings after finishing second in China last week.
 
Tseng, who earlier this year won the McDonalds LPGA Championship, edged past Annika Sorenstam and into the No. 2 spot behind Lorena Ochoa.
 
Ochoa is still miles ahead of everybody else with an average points number of 17.96. Tseng checks in at 9.94. Sorenstams number is 9.73.
 
This is especially interesting in light of Sorenstams prediction, earlier this year, that Tseng would be No. 1 inside of three years.
 
Dont look back, Lorena.
 

PLUMBING THE DEPTHS
This last note has nothing to do with golf, but you have to love a great newspaper headline when you see one.
 
A tip of the baseball cap to the Philadelphia Daily News for coming up with: JOE, THE LUMBER, after Phillies pitcher Joe Blanton homered against the Rays en route to a World Series victory Sunday night in Game 4.
 
Youve got to think even Joe The Plumber would like this headline.
 
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