A qualified shame


File this one under the litany of confounding golf rules.

Erik Compton, the two-time heart transplant recipient and one-man motivational dream team, took a chance last week, flew to Mexico for Monday qualifying and finished tied for 40th in his first Tour event of the season with something less than his best stuff.

So imagine how fired up he was to try the same formula for next week’s Honda Classic, an event he’s played well in before that is close to his south Florida home. But then the small print has a way of ruining the best plans.

Compton was informed by officials this week he would have to play the pre-qualifier on Feb. 24 to earn a spot in the Monday qualifier, but he had already missed the deadline for entry into the event.

According to Tour officials players are exempt from pre-qualifying if they are current PGA Tour or Nationwide Tour members, a PGA Tour member since 2007 or those who played in the previous week’s event, which would have qualified Compton for this week’s Monday four-spotter into the Waste Management Open but his Sunday finish in Mexico left little room for him to make it to Phoenix.

Honda Classic officials did not select Compton for one of its five sponsor exemptions.

“We gave Erik a spot last year, and he was great, so it was difficult not to give him one this year, but we try to not repeat exemptions from year to year, and this year is the most difficult because of all the big-name players looking for exemptions,” Ken Kennerly wrote in an e-mail to GolfChannel.com.

Compton said he will attempt to qualify for the Puerto Rico Open, which does not have a Wednesday pre-qualifier, if he isn’t selected to receive a sponsor exemption but a spot in the field seems likely given his history at the event.

The rest of the season, however, remains up in the air given the logistics that go along with Wednesday pre-qualifiers.