Kodak competition heats up for Merritt


Last week Troy Merritt, the rail-thin frontrunner in the season-long race for the $1 million Kodak Challenge jackpot, said his competition will dictate whether he’s nervous at next week’s season finale at Walt Disney World Resort

“I have some control over my results as far as that goes (money list),” said Merritt, who is 121st on the PGA Tour money list. “The Kodak Challenge depends on a couple guys close to me if they show up. If they show up I will think about it a little bit more.”

On Tuesday GolfChannel.com learned that those closest to Merritt, rookie Rickie Fowler and Aaron Baddeley, plan to play the finale and make things interesting.

Fowler, who is playing this week’s WGC-HSBC Champions in China, indicated to Tour officials he will play Disney and Baddeley, who originally planned to play next week’s Australian Masters, told a member of his camp he plans to make a final push for the Kodak cash. Both players trail Merritt by one shot at 16 under par.

Tim Petrovic, who is alone in fourth place at 15 under, is also on the early commitment list for the Disney stop, although players have until Friday to official sign up.

Because of the two-course rotation at the Disney event Merritt may only get one shot at the Kodak hole, No. 17 on the Magnolia course. If there is a tie officials plan to have a playoff on the 17th hole, under flood lights if necessary, on Sunday.

“I’m not thinking about the money. I’ve never seen that much money,” said Merritt, who moved into the Kodak lead with an eagle at the last event in Las Vegas.