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Tour uses common sense to extend exemption

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LA QUINTA, Calif. – For the first time in PGA Tour Q-School history, or at least as long as officials can recall, a player was offered an exemption to final stage. That’s right, a freebie to bypass the professional pitfalls of second stage, also known as the ultimate “Get out of jail free” card for a play-for-pay type.

Conspiracy? No, try common sense.

In five Tour events this year, Adam Hadwin earned $440,752 thanks to top-10 finishes at the Canadian Open and Frys.com Open.

Normally that would have been enough for the Canadian to finish inside the top 150 on the Tour money list and earn an automatic exemption to final stage this week in the California desert, but because of a statistical snafu it seemed he would be denied his pass to finals.

In order to gain special temporary membership, and with it an exemption to final stage, Hadwin had to match the money made by No. 150 on the 2010 money list, which was about $152,000 more than what was needed to finish 150th this season ($411,943).

Because of the statistical anomaly Tour officials allowed Hadwin, who is tied for 98th midway through his final round at Q-School, an exemption to final stage.

“The clear intent of the rule is to exempt a player who finishes in the top 126 to 150,” said Andy Pazder, the Tour’s executive vice president and chief of operations. “It was never tied to having to be a special member.”

Nice to see common sense take a 1-up lead on the often dogmatic rules that govern the game.