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Backspin Take the Money and Run

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Editor's Note: In Backspin, the editorial staff takes a look back on the biggest stories from the past week in golf -- with a spin.
I'M GOING TO DISNEY... WAIT, I'M ALREADY HERE: Stephen Ames claimed the final PGA TOUR title this season, winning the Children's Miracle Network Classic by one stroke over Tim Clark. Ames shot 4-under 68 in the final round to claim his first victory of the season and the third of his career.
Backspin Ames entered the Disney event trying to work on his swing. He left with a trophy. He said that he was planning on going to Maui for Christmas ... now he can just stay in Hawaii for a little longer since he'll be playing in the Mercedes-Benz Championships. Not a bad way to enter -- and spend -- the holiday season.
BUBBLE BOYS: This, of course, was the final shuffle before TOUR cards were secured for next year. The biggest winner in that department was Kevin Stadler, who tied for 15th to move from 127th to 124th on the money list. Mathias Gronberg held the final spot thanks to a tie for 37th.
Backspin On the opposite end was Ted Purdy, who entered Disney at No. 125, missed the cut and left No. 127. Other numbers of importance: Justin Leonard failed to crack the top 30 and earn a Masters invivte next year, while Heath Slocum bumped David Toms out of the top 30; Robert Gamez and Jeff Gove moved into the top 150 to gain a spot in the finals of Q-school and conditional status next season; and Tripp Isenhour didn't make a birdie Sunday en route to missing out on the top 150.
IN FULL BLOOM: Justin Rose won the Volvo Masters in Spain on the second hole of a three-man playoff. It was Rose's second win of the season on the European Tour and seventh top-10 in only 12 starts.
Backspin Talk about coming out smelling like a rose. The 27-year-old Englishman not only started his week with a hole-in-one in the first round, but he finished in grand style, draining a 12-foot birdie putt for the victory and with it earning the prestigous Order of Merit title. The victory also vaulted Rose to seventh in the Official World Golf Ranking. That is one helluva week.
THERE'S A REASON THEY CALL THEM 'APPEARANCE FEES': Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els, the No. 2 and 4 players in the world rankings, traveled halfway around the world to play in the Singapore Open. A closing 79 left Mickelson 16 strokes adrift of winner Angel Cabreara, while Els couldn't even make the cut.
Backspin Nothing screams 'Show me the money!' more than this trip for the two superstars. Mickleson often says he wants a shorter PGA TOUR season to have time to relax in the off-season. So he then travels to Asia to play. As for Els ... well, we'll get to him in a second. They would both make Rod Tidwell (Jerry Maguire) very proud.
ERNIE'S WEEK TO FORGET: Els skipped the European Tour's season-ending Volvo Masters to play in the Barclays Singapore Open, in which he bogeyed almost half the holes he played in the second round in missing the cut.
Backspin In what was a week to truly forget, Els first had to deal with a war with words between he and the Euro Tour, and then he and Colin Montgomerie over his decision to miss the Volvo Masters. Then he contracted food poisoning. Then he missed the cut by a mile in Singapore. Then he lost the Order of Merit title when Justin Rose finished first in Spain. Not a good week for the Big Easy. But, at least he got paid for just being Ernie.
THE HALL WILL HAVE TO WAIT: Laura Davies, who held at least a share of the lead for the first two rounds, could only muster an even-par round on Sunday to finish well back of winner Momoko Ueda at the Mizuno Classic in Japan.
Backspin Davies, who is just two points (one major victory or two regular season wins) shy of qualifying for the Hall of Fame, missed yet another golden opportunity to inch closer to the Hall. The 44-year-old has 68 wins worldwide, which include 20 on the LPGA Tour, and four majors to her credit. She will no doubt be voted in by the veterans committee some day, but here's hoping she can get into the Hall on her own two feet.
NATIONWIDE IS ON YOUR SIDE: Richard Johnson established a new tournament record, winning the Nationwide Tour Championship in 20-under-par 264, breaking the old mark by six strokes. Johnson's victory was his second of the season and placed him first on the final money list.
Backspin Twenty-five players earned their PGA TOUR cards for 2008 thanks to their monetary performances. Tom Scherrer and Matthew Letzig moved into the top 25 via their results in the Tour Championship. TOUR veteran Skip Kendall and David MacKenzie fell by the wayside.
KANN NOT DELIVER A VICTORY: Kraig Kann, the anchor on GOLF CHANNEL'S Sprint Post Game Show, had the privilage of caddying for good friend and PGA TOUR professional Jay Williamson at the season-ending Children's Miracle Network Classic. The ride at Disney, however, was short lived as Williamson failed to the make the cut.
Backspin Kann had previously caddied for Steve Flesch in the Wednesday pro-am of the 2004 Colonial, an event in which Flesch went on to win. This time. however, Kann's magical touch apparently ran out of juice. The silver lining? Kann was then able to focus on his beloved Missouri Tigers football win the following day.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Tiger Woods has completed three holes on his first course design project in Dubai; The USGA and R&A announced a new rules change which will allow a golfer to lift a ball for identification in a bunker or water hazard; Michael Letzig flirted with a 59 in the first round of the Nationwide Tour Championship.
Backspin It was no doubt a small case of hyperbole when Abdulla Al Gurg, the project director for Tiger's course in Dubai, stated that it has already set 'a different benchmark in the golfing industry.' Take that Pete Dye and Robet Trent Jones Jr.; No word yet from the USGA, however, that a mulligan on the first tee will become an official rule; The only problem with shooting a 60 in the first round like Letzig did, is that you pretty much know there's no where to go but backwards.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Children's Miracle Network Classic
  • Full Coverage - Volvo Masters
  • Kraig Kann's Archive
  • More Headlines