Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Davis Love III Masters Qualification Process Has Become Complicated

Doug Ferguson of the Associated Press points out something rather interesting about the Davis Love III Masters saga. If DLIII would have skipped the Arnold Palmer Invitational, he would have qualified for the first major of the year. Now? He missed out by seven-thousandths of a point! Whaaa?!

The latest world ranking is out, and qualifying for the Masters effectively is closed. Love needed to be in the top 50, and he missed out by just over four-hundredths of a point. If he had not played Bay Hill, where Love missed the cut, turns out he would have been at No. 50 by seven-thousandths of a point over Louis Oosthuizen.

But assume Love had taken last week off, and Hunter Mahan had not five-putted the 16th green at Bay Hill in the final round. Love then would have fallen to No. 51 and been kicking himself for not playing.

Confused yet? It gets better.

Even after missing the cut, Love had a chance to stay in the top 50 when Stuart Appleby shot 80 in the third round and Aaron Baddeley tumbled down the leaderboard with a 76-74 weekend. But right when his odds were looking up, Prayad Marksaeng shot 64 in the final round in Thailand, and Soren Kjeldsen pulled away toward victory in Portugal.

After all that, Love still had hope. Pat Perez was in a two-way tie for third late Sunday on the 18th hole at Bay Hill, and if he were to make double bogey and slip into a four-way tie for seventh, Love would have gone to 50.

Perez went over the water and right at the flag - remember, he still had an outside shot at winning the tournament - and the ball cleared the rocks framing the lake by no more than a foot. He was able to chop his next shot onto the green and he made bogey.

So now, Love is No. 51 and must win the Shell Houston Open this week to be able to drive down Magnolia Lane.

Wow. That is the most I have ever copy/pasted in my entire life. The thing is, it is probably worth it.

I talk up professional golf all the time as the best job in the world, and Davis isn't exactly running to the unemployment line with this problem, but it is rather confusing. I'm still confused he has no exemption into this tournament. I guess those two second place finishes in 1995 and '99 really do come back and haunt you at this point.

Love not being at the Masters would almost be as strange as if Fred Couples lost his invitation in the mail. The only way Love III can avoid his second straight year away from Augusta is if he wins this week at the Shell Houston Open.


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