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Friday, October 28, 2011

Are You Watching the Nationwide Tour Championship?

You should be.

I know you're probably tired of hearing how well Nationwide grads do when they reach the "Big Tour." And you're tired of hearing about the "human drama" of players "with their futures on the line." You may just be tired of GC, although I think their Nationwide coverage team is probably one of their best. (Jerry Foltz's relationships with the players certainly contributes to that.)

Let me give you one good reason why you should be watching this week.

As you know, there are 60 players in the field, of which 25 will get their PGA Tour cards at the end of the week. The player currently at 25, Billy Hurley III (a nice story all on his own), has $167,151 in winnings this year. (The bubble boys don't have a good record in this event. Hurley may change that.) And the player currently at 60, Roger Tambellini, has $97,307.

The Championship winner gets $180,000 and last place gets $3,000. Now I don't know the money breakdown for the rest of the field, but I can tell you that if Tambellini won he would finish with $277,307. That would put him in the current 7th spot with a $22,000 pad over 8th.

Mark Anderson, the leader after the first round, is #19 and has $182,017 going in. As a general rule, anybody above 20 going into this week is usually "safe"... especially if they play as well as Mark is!

That means that, unlike Disney where some players were just hoping to get some status, anybody playing this week can get their Tour card if they play well enough. The guy who won last year in a playoff was Brendon Steele, who was one of the first-time winners on the PGA Tour this year. He finished 6th on the Nationwide money list with $346,258... which means he started the event about where Billy Hurley III is this year!

Among the other first-time winners from the 2010 Nationwide Tour, Chris Kirk finished 2nd, Jhonattan Vegas 7th, and Keegan Bradley 14th.

This is one tournament that isn't over-hyped. The Nationwide Tour Championship really does deliver some excitement, and you might even see some of next year's PGA winners before they get there. So make sure you catch some of it this weekend.

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