When Davis Love III defends his championship in the Children’s Miracle Network Classic Nov. 12-15 at Walt Disney World Resort, he’ll be in the company of well-known veterans with long professional golf resumes and younger players with big dreams.
The field of 128 players for the final event of the PGA TOUR official-money season was set Friday afternoon featuring names such as Justin Leonard, David Toms, Mark Calcavecchia, Rich Beem, Lee Janzen, Billy Mayfair, Zack Johnson, David Duval and Heath Slocum – all with long resumes. But because the Classic is players’ last chance to reach the top 125 in 2009 earnings – and an exemption to play regularly on the PGA TOUR in 2010 – there also are plenty of young players chasing dreams (and a big paycheck from the $4.7 million purse) on Disney’s Magnolia and Palm courses.
Several of the fresh new names are intriguing because they just happen to be playing extremely well right now. At the top of the list: 20-year-old Rickie Fowler, who scored a seventh-place finish at the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open and then tied for second place (losing in a playoff) the following week at the Frys.com Open.
The back-to-back big paychecks in October vaulted the former Oklahoma State All-American from California to within $70,125 of the current 125th spot on the money list. He’s trying to follow Tiger Woods’ route to the TOUR – enough success through limited playing opportunities to avoid a trip to the grueling PGA TOUR “Q School.” A top-10 finish in the Children’s Miracle Network Classic likely would accomplish that goal.
Twenty-one-year-old Jamie Lovemark already has moved through the first stage of “Q School,” but the two-time All-American at University of Southern California could forego the remainder of it via a high finish at Disney. He tied Fowler for second in the Frys.com Open when they were bettered in a playoff by Troy Matteson. It marked Lovemark’s second PGA TOUR payday and gives him enough in winnings that a top-five in the Classic would likely earn him a spot on the TOUR in 2010.
Then there’s Erik Compton, a 29-year-old former two-time All-American at University of Georgia who’s a walking, talking miracle. He’s about a year-and-a-half into his second transplanted heart. His remarkable medical history aside, Compton made news in late October by blowing away the field in a “Q School” first stage event at PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Fla. He won the 72-hole tournament by seven strokes with a 22-under-par 266 on the difficult Wanamaker course.
For a complete look at the field for the Children’s Miracle Network Classic, visit pgatour.com. On the home page, click on “Tournaments,” scroll down and click on “Children’s Miracle Network Classic,” and then click on “Field” (which will be located near the upper right of the page under “Tournament Overview”). Or CLICK HERE.
Tournament rounds on Nov. 12 and Nov. 13 will begin at 6:45 a.m. on both the Magnolia and Palm courses. At the conclusion of the second round, the field will be cut to the low 70 scores for the weekend round on the Magnolia course.
Pre-event ticket sales are available exclusively through ticketmaster.com. Ticket booths will be located onsite during the tournament where weekly badges ($20) or daily tickets ($10) can be purchased. Complimentary guest parking for the tournament is at Epcot, with complimentary transportation provided between the Epcot parking lot and the tournament entrance.
Golf Channel will provide its signature wrap-around news coverage of the Children’s Miracle Network Classic live and in high definition from Nov. 12-15. Coverage kicks off Thursday, from 1-4 p.m. ET.
The 2009 Children’s Miracle Network Classic marks the 39th year of the PGA TOUR at Walt Disney World Resort. The tournament’s gallery of champions includes 14 players who also have “majors” on their resumes. In addition to Davis Love III, the winner’s list includes the likes of Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh, Jack Nicklaus, Payne Stewart and Raymond Floyd.