Check that. I think the opportunity here at the Reno-Tahoe Open is better. Sure, the purse might be smaller. and the field certainly isn't as strong - that's a given. But a win here ultimately gets you there, if you know what I mean.
For instance, take Ian Leggatt. Leggatt won this year's Touchstone Energy Tucson Open, which just happened to be opposite the World Golf Championships match play event. If not for the chance to compete that very week in Tucson, Leggatt wouldn't have qualified for this week's NEC invite. And with his win in Tucson, Leggatt also got the coveted two-year exemption and a trip to Hawaii for next year's Mercedes Championships.
Two years ago Scott Verplank won the Reno-Tahoe Open, which really propelled him toward a spot among golf's elite, the Ryder Cup berth he earned and a spot at this week's NEC. John Cook won here last year and because of the win is playing in this week's NEC as well. Three years ago Notah Begay III won here, helping to secure himself a spot on the Presidents Cup roster which has ultimately put him in this week's NEC field as well.
So as I see it, the 'opposite events' which take place during World Golf Championship weeks are a huge opportunity for players looking for their place in this sport. A win is a win is a win. And you can't get to the top without a few on your resume.
Players should be counting their lucky stars (not that they aren't) over weeks like this. And if you're thinking otherwise, think about how Rich Beem has turned opportunity into a major championship.
All of a sudden a trip to Q-School doesn't seem like a bad way to spend a week, if you consider what's out there!
And this week Charles Howell III, Bryce Molder, Luke Donald, Pat Perez, Chad Campbell, Jay Williamson, John Rollins, Heath Slocum and Jonathan Byrd are looking for their spot on that ramp upward on golf's highway to stardom.