Continued from page 2

ROAD TO THE MASTERS: It looks virtually certain that the Masters will again keep its field under 100 players, which Augusta National prefers. The Masters, with the smallest field among majors, has not exceeded 100 players since 103 competed in 1966.

John Senden’s win at the Valspar Championship made him the 94th player eligible. There are three PGA Tour events remaining where a winner could get in (Bay Hill, Texas Open and the Houston Open). From the world ranking after the Texas Open, only Stephen Gallacher at No. 37 is a lock to get in.

That leaves Richard Sterne (No. 52) and George Coetzee (No. 56) on the outside. Neither are PGA Tour members, and there are no European Tour events remaining before the cutoff through the world ranking. Neither are in the field next week at the Texas Open.

For PGA Tour members, Chesson Hadley is at No. 59 and Ryan Palmer is at No. 63.

___

DIVOTS: Jason Day is done until the Masters. He withdrew from Bay Hill with lingering pain from a thumb injury. The Australian plans to rest the next two weeks, and then go to Augusta National early with Colin Swatton, his caddie and coach. … The opening three events on the Florida Swing were won with scores of 8-under-par (Honda Classic), 4-under-par (Cadillac Championship) and 7-under-par (Valspar Championship). Throw out opposite field events or majors, and the last time three straight PGA Tour events were won with a score that was single-digit under par was in 1990. Payne Stewart won the Byron Nelson Classic (8 under), Greg Norman won the Memorial (even) and Ben Crenshaw won Colonial (8 under). … Jonathan Byrd tied for 32nd at Innisbrook and earned $31,540. That enabled him to fulfill his major medical extension for the rest of the year. … Here’s one way to measure the conditions at Innisbrook last week. The difference between first and last place after one round was only 10 shots. … The Valspar Championship was the fifth PGA Tour event this year that featured a 54-hole cut because more than 78 players made it to the weekend.

___

STAT OF THE WEEK: John Senden was the first player to win a PGA Tour event with an opening round over par since Justin Rose at the U.S. Open last year.

___

FINAL WORD: “Whoever shows up at an event nowadays has a chance to win.” - Patrick Reed.