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BEST WITHOUT A U.S. WIN: It’s not quite the burden as being the best without a major, but Tim Clark felt relieved last year when he won The Players Championship and shed the label as the best to have never won on the PGA Tour.

So who’s next?

Of players who have been PGA Tour members as long as they have been a pro, Rickie Fowler has the highest ranking at No. 34, although he is only in his second year. Steve Marino (57), Jeff Overton (59) and Kevin Na (64) are also among the top 75 in the world without ever winning on tour. Then there are players such as Brett Quigley, Harrison Frazar and Briny Baird, who all have more than 300 starts.

“I’m going to look at those guys who have been up there for a lot of years and put in the time,” Clark said. “You look at a guy like Briny Baird and Harrison Frazar. These are guys who have been out here a long time, certainly had a lot of chances and it would certainly be nice to see those guys win tournaments.”

Clark won in his 205th start on the PGA Tour.


CROWDED SCHEDULE: The Chevron World Challenge, which Tiger Woods hosts the first week of December, had scheduling concerns even before the prospects of a World Golf Championship in South Africa.

This year’s tournament is Dec. 1-4, opposite the Hong Kong Open. The bigger problem is the Dubai World Championship the following week to conclude the European Tour season. The pro-am for Dubai is Tuesday, making it nearly impossible for someone to play Chevron and get to Dubai on time.

Graeme McDowell is the defending champion at Chevron. Other European Tour members who played Woods‘ event last year include Paul Casey, Rory McIlroy, Ian Poulter and Luke Donald.

One solution being discussed is for the final round to played early Sunday (and shown on NBC Sports on tape delay), which would offer European Tour members the chance to get a flight that afternoon and arrive in Dubai on Monday night.


U.S. OPEN QUALIFYING: Augusta National chairman Billy Payne said the Masters would take a close look at its qualifications to make sure the field doesn’t get larger than the club prefers.

The U.S. Open doesn’t worry about the size of its field _ it is set at 156 players _ although it gave the criteria a close review. The U.S. Open prides itself in being the most democratic of the majors in that it prefers that around half the players go through qualifying.

Starting in 2012, the U.S. Open is moving away from the money list on the PGA Tour (top 30) and European Tour (top 15) and instead will take the top 60 in the world a month and a week before the championship. Still in tact will be the 30 players who reach the FedEx Cup finale at the Tour Championship.

How many players will be exempt under that criteria in 2012?

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