But then the whole week was a symphony in a minor key. Its high note was Michael Putnam, who was preparing to play in the U.S. Amateur at Merion when he won a sponsor's exemption into the Buick, at which time he abruptly abandoned the Amateur and his amateur status. (Why is it that golf announcers--and golf announcers alone--always pronounce that word amaturr instead of amachoor?) Putnam spent his first day as a professional taking a four-hour Amtrak ride from Philadelphia to Hartford. "The Philadelphia train station is huge," marveled the 22-year-old from Tacoma, before realizing he had nothing to compare it with. "Or it might not be. I've only been on two train rides in my life." Putnam finished in a tie for fourth and won $177,733.34, all the while comporting himself--and transporting himself--like Sam Snead.
Alas, the Tour's TV contract expires after 2006, and the following seasons may be shortened considerably so as not to compete with football. This may mean the end of several nonmajors, imperiling Tour mainstays like Milwaukee and Greensboro and Hartford--a tournament host since 1952--where Brad Faxon won on Sunday by beating van der Walt in a playoff.
Faxon didn't get a green jacket or a claret jug or a Wanamaker Trophy, just a winner's check of--gasp--$774,000. It looked pretty major to me.
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