NATIONWIDE PROMOTION: Michael Sim earned an instant promotion to the PGA Tour when he won his third Nationwide Tour event. The timing couldn't have been worse, coming right before the FedEx Cup playoffs.
As a result, Sim played only one time on the PGA Tour, on a sponsor exemption to Turning Stone. The Viking Classic was canceled. He chose not to play Disney.
Should the rule be changed to create an automatic spot for such players?
Biggest Off-course Stories of 2009
The instant promotion is more about the following year than the current year. The payoff for Sim is that he's fully exempt for the 2010 season, meaning he's automatically in The Players Championship and isn't subjected to the reshuffle that other Nationwide Tour and Q-school graduates face.
What not give Sim instant status? The tour wants to be sure the current crop of Nationwide/Q-school players have every chance to play an entire season without being bumped by someone who spent most of the year at a lower level.
TOP TEN: Europe uses the world ranking to decide half of its Ryder Cup team – not a player’s ranking, rather how many raw points the player has earned in the year leading to the matches.
That might be the best way to determine which players have had the best year in golf.
Using only points earned in 2009, the top three remain the same – Tiger Woods with 604.54 points, followed by Phil Mickelson at 367.29 and Steve Stricker at 333.57. Lee Westwood (299.54) and Rory McIlroy (283.06) round out the top five.
They're followed by Paul Casey, Jim Furyk, Kenny Perry, Sean O’Hair and Retief Goosen.
This also shows who'd a poor season. Only three players in the top 50 failed to earn at least 100 ranking points – Vijay Singh, Ben Curtis and Robert Karlsson, who missed the heart of the season with an eye injury.
DIVOTS: Rory McIlroy plans to make his debut as a PGA Tour member at the Accenture Match Play Championship, with his road to the Masters going through the Honda Classic, Doral and the Houston Open. Also on his schedule are the Quail Hollow Championship and the Memorial. … Tiger Woods lost more world ranking points (485.82) than any other player earned last year. … Six players under 50 took a one-time exemption from career money to keep their PGA Tour card for the 2009 season. Only one of them, Bob Estes, finished inside the top 125 on the money list. The others were Jeff Maggert (128), David Duval (130), Chris DiMarco (135), Tom Lehman (142), who turned 50 in March. Brad Faxon (221).