WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The most compelling six days of professional golf came to climactic – and, for some, cruel – end on Monday. Not that many noticed given a news cycle dominated by Tiger Woods the last two weeks.
“It is one hell of a tournament,” said Joe Ogilvie, who regained his Tour card with a tie for 15th. “It is an amazing thing that we don’t sell it a lot better because it is one hell of a deal.”
The other 24 “winners” on Monday at Bear Lakes Country Club would likely agree with Ogilvie. So in case you missed it, here’s a “Cliff’s Notes” look at those who earned a reason to celebrate in 2010 (in order of finish).
iQ: Steady, if unspectacular, game and a healthy chip on his shoulder to prove all those Division I coaches who didn’t recruit him wrong will play well on Tour.
iQ: Quiet veteran was solid when he had to be and has likely seen his final Q-School as he inches toward a Champions Tour career (he will be 46 in February).
iQ: Slowed by a back injury last year, the Aussie’s final-round 66 will be worth an extra start or two on the West Coast where he has played his best golf.
iQ: Good college player at Oklahoma has evolved as a pro and should be able to avoid a return trip to the Fall Classic.
iQ: “Cuz” finished strong with three rounds in the 60s and gives everyone who carries a notebook for a living a reason to look forward to 2010.
Brendon de Jonge
iQ: Closing 66 was his best of the week and he has enough experience and game to surprise some next year.
iQ: Former Florida standout impressed playing partner Jay Williamson at Q-School, but limited Tour experience (one start) will make a fast start a must.
iQ: Final-round 64 vaulted Aussie from T-28 to T-8 and back onto the Tour, but he will need to improve consistency to stay there.
iQ: A two-time Tour winner with 373 career starts he posted the round of the week (third-round 63) to set up return but veteran will have to do better than nine missed cuts in 15 events (2009).
iQ: Like Merritt, a Boise State product with a stellar international resume that suggests he could be the sleeper of 2009 class.
iQ: Veteran called this Q-School his “greatest accomplishment,” and newfound confidence could make 2010 a career year.
iQ: He grew up in the shadow of Jack Nicklaus’ Muirfield Village in Ohio, the Northwestern product is athletic and affable, a good combo on Tour.
iQ: Closing 74 likely cost him a few West Coast starts which could make season an uphill climb, but he’s been there before.
iQ: At Disney the journeyman said he was playing the rest of the year for “Christmas money,” but second-round 65 made the holidays much more enjoyable.
iQ: With his old caddie, Mike Collins, on the bag, the perennial fringe player gets another shot, but he will have to make the most of shorter courses that fit his game.
iQ: “The Main Event” delivered as many expected he would and it seems the only thing standing between him and stardom are unrealistic expectations and injury.
iQ: Has kept his card once (2006) in four trips to the Tour and needed a closing 65 to move into the top 25, but has plenty of experience which is in short supply with this class.
iQ: Thoughtful to a fault, he was distracted the last year by a troubling economy. In order to avoid a return to Q-School he will need to focus on his game.
iQ: Redeemed himself for failures at Q-Schools past and two years on the Nationwide Tour should help his transition to the Big Leagues.
iQ: One of nine freshman in this class, but after Fowler he may have the most complete game and most promising resume.
iQ: Limped in with three rounds over 70 and his status at the back of the class will make early starts crucial.
iQ: One-time Ryder Cupper struggled to closing 76 but he has a Tour victory on his belt and plenty of experience.
iQ: Has as much talent as anyone from this class, he just needs to apply it at the next level.
iQ: Rookie has made steady improvements since leaving Clemson, but a distant finish on this year’s Nationwide Tour money list (79th) suggests he still has some developing.
iQ: Regained status after struggling in 2001 (193rd in earnings), but with dwindling playing opportunities he didn’t do himself any favors with his final-round 77.