Breaking the Tours golden rule


LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Walt Disney World Resort may be the happiest place on earth but the season-ending money race, to say nothing of the $1 million Kodak Challenge jackpot won by Troy Merritt, does strange things to normally reserved Tour types.

Following his final-round 67 which left him tied for third place and 126th in projected earnings Johnson Wagner’s attention turned to Spencer Levin, who was in the final group and could help Wagner’s chances with a late bogey.

“I would never wish that on anyone . . . but I wouldn’t be sad if he made bogey,” Wagner smiled.

Roland Thatcher, who was paired with Levin, needed to finish alone in second place to avoid Q-School and had similar evil thoughts as Levin played the last. “I was rooting for him to miss it . . . that’s terrible to say,” he laughed.

Merritt, as quiet and courteous as they come on Tour, took it to a new level when he was asked what he was thinking when Rickie Fowler’s 30 footer for birdie at the Kodak Challenge playoff hole slipped just past the left edge of the cup.

“I thought it was in the middle of the hole and I was about to go over and wrap my putter around his head,” Merritt joked.