Tour’s Top Honor
ORLANDO, FLORIDA | To make it through the PGA
Tour Qualifying Tournament, you need skill, passion, conditioning and plenty of heart. Nobody
knows that better than Erik Compton. The two-time heart transplant recipient arrived at Orange
Country National with one goal in mind: to get his
PGA Tour card for 2011.
“It’s a life-long dream,” said Compton. “And now
it’s a very real dream, one I’m capable of doing.”
Compton already proved he can compete at the
highest level when he qualified this year for the
U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. He missed the cut after
rounds of 77-81, but just walking the course by
Carmel Bay did far more than touch the hearts of
many, it gave him confidence. And it clearly showed
a month later when Compton opened the Green-
brier Classic with a 7-under-par 63 and was in the
hunt for the title before a final-round 77 – and a 59
from Stuart Appleby – closed the door.
Regardless, the experience he gained over the
past year gave Compton an edge last week, though
he was quick to admit that Q-School is a completely different monster than a regular Tour event.
“Nothing can prepare you for Q-School,” he said
of the 108-hole marathon that concludes today.
“With so many guys in the field, you have to be
playing really well all week … It’s even more excit-
ing because of what I went through. I never thought
I’d be here after the second ordeal.”
agement from friends and fellow caddies, Wald-
man entered the pre-qualifier at TPC San Antonio.
Rounds of 72-78-72-70 were good enough for a T8
finish and a trip to the first stage. He would go on
to finish T18 and T14 at the first and second stages,
respectively, to earn a spot in the finals. And while
advancing through all three stages is impressive,
what’s most inspiring is how good Waldman’s game
is considering the amount of golf he has played over
the past year.
The last time Billy Mayfair was at Q-School, Tiger
Woods had zero national titles, gas was around a $1
a gallon and Ronald Reagan was in the White House.
But Mayfair, making his first appearance since 1988,
showed that while times have certainly changed, his
golf game hasn’t aged a bit. Through four rounds, the
five-time Tour winner made just five bogeys and was
in a tie for fourth at 12-under par.
Come Monday, Camilo Villegas might be out a
caddie as Brett Waldman tried last week to join his
boss on Tour in 2011.
Jason Gore knows how to handle the pressures of
Q-School. For him, it’s not about being physically fit.
“We are all ... well, I’m not in good shape, I’m a
shape. But I’m good enough.”
No, the key for Gore last week was sticking to
A total of 166 players advanced to the final stage
last week, which consists of six rounds and no
cuts. The top 25 players and ties will receive PGA
Tour cards for 2011. l
Jim Furyk was named the 2010 PGA
Tour Player of the Year in a vote by his
fellow competitors. Furyk, 40, earned his
first-ever Player of the Year award on Saturday after a season in which he won the
FedExCup on the strength of three PGA
Tour victories. In 21 starts, Furyk recorded
seven top-10s, was fifth in scoring average
at 69.83 and finished second on the money
list with $4,809,622. His victory total was
more than any other player on the PGA
Tour in 2010.
It was little surprise when Rickie Fowler
was named the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year.
Fowler, 21, is the youngest player to win this
award since Tiger Woods won it in 1996 at
the age of 20. “The Creamsicle” (for his Sunday orange outfits) totaled seven top-10s in
28 starts, including two runner-up finishes,
and ranked T41 in scoring average at 70.43.
Fowler also made a dramatic jump from No.
249 to No. 25 in the Official World Golf Ranking in 2010 after earning $2,857,108.
Also on Saturday, Jamie Lovemark
surpassed Stewart Cink and Nick Flanagan to become the youngest-ever winner
of the Nationwide Tour Player of the Year
At 22, the California native recorded
one victory, three runner-ups and two
third-place finishes in 22 events. Lovemark was also the leading money winner
this season with $452,951 on the strength
of nine top 10s. l