It wasn't an abiding love of the fourth estate that drew P.H. Horgan to the media room at the Southern Farm Bureau Classic at Annandale Golf Club in Madison, Miss., on Sunday. Like many others in the field, Horgan, the 1994 Rhode Island Open champ, was sweating over how much cash he had won this year ($261,309, putting him 139th on the money list), how much more he needed (the top 132 would keep their PGA Tour cards) and when the weather might clear so that he could make a run. "I need four birdies on the back nine," said Horgan, who was halfway through his final round when he ducked into the pressroom during a rain delay to use the IBM scoring computer. "I've got to finish no worse than 10th."
So it went as players fought for their livelihoods at the Tour's last full-field event of '99, where bubble trouble was "a dark-gray thing that nobody likes to talk about," according to Brian Henninger, who with a 69 on Monday won the SFB by three strokes over Chris DiMarco. At Nos. 94 and 83, respectively, Henninger and DiMarco were sitting pretty all week, but others were headed for the final stage of Q school at Doral Resort and Spa in Miami, Nov. 17-22.
"I've got no shot," No. 128 Pete Jordan said last Saturday as he walked to his car after missing the cut by three strokes. "All I needed to do was make the cut, and I couldn't even do that." Jordan, 35, was right Two front-nine double bogeys had left him out of the money, and the former TCU Horned Frog was roadkill, dropping to No. 134. Joe Ogilvie, who started the week at No. 132, also was cooked. A devout follower of the stock market from Lancaster, Ohio, Ogilvie, 25, missed the cut by one and crashed at 136th.
The Tour used a "soft" 125 this year—meaning that the six non-members among the top 125 players, such as No. 45 Jose Maria Olaz�bal, didn't count—and thus the magic number was 131. But on Sunday word spread that the number had changed again, to 132, because of the death of No. 3, Payne Stewart. Further complicating matters, the tournament had taken Friday off for Stewart's memorial service in Orlando, and then a rainout on Sunday delayed the finish until Monday. All of which left players with six-alarm migraines.
"You need a degree in probability to figure this out," said No. 159 Sean Murphy. Russ Cochran, the lefty from Paducah, Ky., and No. 137 to begin the week, didn't bother. He birdied five of his last seven holes during a 64 on Thursday that put him in the lead and well on his way to keeping his card. Cochran tied for ninth, earned $44,750 and hung on at No. 128.
On the bubble at No. 130, three-time Tour winner Nolan Henke also helped himself, opening with a 66. He also tied for ninth and climbed to No. 121. Paul Stankowski, at the end of his exemption for winning the Hawaiian Open in '97, tied for third to jump from No. 140 to No. 113.
Horgan was not so lucky. He managed only one birdie on the back nine on Monday but was prepared for disappointment. In '98 he finished at No. 126, and his name became an unwelcome addition to the golfing lexicon: P.H. Factor, the number of dollars by which you miss your card.
Late Sunday afternoon some players tabulated earnings assuming the final round would be rained out, but when play resumed on Monday, the order shifted yet again. Blaine McCallister, who got the last card in '98, slipped from a tie for eighth on Sunday to a tie for ninth and out of the top 132. That opened the door for Doug Dunakey, 36, the Nike alum who fired a 59 last year. He shot a clutch 68 on Monday for the coveted 132nd spot, but his joy was short-lived. Joe Ozaki, No. 137, will earn at least $25,000 at this week's American Express Championship, dropping Dunakey into the dumps at 133—with a P.H. Factor of $3,403.