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FrankoSport 10-03-2003 02:06 AM

Darren Clarke in the Tour Championship !!
Greetings --

Admittedly, I found this QUITE UNBELIEVABLE--yet apparently true!

Darren Clarke ranks only 97th on the PGA Tour's Official Money List with $599,711. Some might argue that Clarke should rank among the Top 30 with $1,849,711--but he doesn't, thanks to PGA Tour rules that were put in place beginning in the year 2000.

The PGA Tour rule is that you must ALREADY be a fully-exempt PGA Tour member prior to playing in the World Golf Championship (WGC) events. If you are not so exempt, then any WGC money you earn counts as official ONLY on your own home tour--in Clarke's case, the European PGA Tour.

So, the $200,000 earned at the Match Play (T-5/quarterfinals) as well as the $1,050,000 earned at the NEC Invitational (WIN) are not included in the "Official" total because Clarke qualified for both WGC events as a member of the European Tour. He became a fully exempt PGA Tour Member JUST AFTER his victory in the NEC Invitational.

Now comes a strange twist in the plot -- Darren Clarke is eligible for the season-ending $6 million Tour Championship.

Yes! That's right, folks! THE TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP -- the event which is advertised as being open ONLY to the Top 30 Money Winners on the PGA Tour!

How is this scenario possible, you ask?

This appears to be an "Equivilancy" rule. In simple terms, any player with some type of PGA Tour exempt status (Full or Special Temporary) -AND- whose accrued earnings in all PGA Tour co-sponsored events during the current year to date equal or exceed that of the 30th player on the PGA Tour Official Money List is guaranteed a spot in the Tour Championship.

Barring any last-minute withdrawals, this will NOT force out any of the "Official" Top 30 who do qualify. Clarke will be added to the field as the 31st man. If that indeed is the case, then I presume that an extra $96,000 (the payout for 30th place) will be added to the $6 million purse.

Incidently, Adam Scott - $1,202,486/47th "official money" or $1,682,486/25th "combined money" - could also qualify for the Tour Championship via the "Equivilancy" rule.

Here's the link where I got some of my info --

NOTE: The article twice makes errors when reporting the length of Clarke's exemption for his NEC win. For the record, it's a three-year exemption.

RaviPachai18 10-06-2003 08:46 PM

quite interesting. I wasn't aware of these rules and I think his ranking should be alot higher than 97th on the PGA Tour money list.

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