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GAINEY MADE the most significant move on the money list, but there were other award-worthy jumps.
The He's Got Guts Award (Though Not As Many As He Used To) goes to Jeff Overton, who began the week as the official bubble boy at 125 on the list. He ranked that high only because he played the Ginn sur Mer Classic the week before, only nine days after having his appendix removed. Playing in pain that sometimes had him twitching on his follow-through, Overton somehow came in 21st. He felt considerably better in Orlando and a closing 69 lifted him to 118th on the final list and clinched his Tour card for '09, making his gut-wrenching performance a week earlier that much more impressive.
The Ponce De Leon Cup goes to 49-year-old Michael Allen, who began the week at 123rd and was prepping for the Champions tour Q school. Allen, who'll turn 50 in January, finished ninth and wound up 106th on the money list. Now that he's exempt for the PGA Tour again, he'll skip the senior Q school and stay on the big Tour, where the competition is considerably better but so is the money.
Scotland's Martin Laird, 25, gets the Mover and Shaker Trophy. He was the only player to begin the week outside the top 125 (126th) and end up inside it. He holed a par-saving seven-foot putt on the 72nd hole that proved to be the stroke that lifted him to No. 125, although he would've been bumped to nonexempt status if Gainey had won. "I knew if I missed that last putt, I had no chance," said Laird, who was relieved but visibly shaking when he came out of the scoring cabin after his round.
The Roberto de Vicenzo Golden Scorecard goes to Shane Bertsch, who missed 2007 due to vertigo and played this year on a medical extension. He had to win about $785,000 in 25 events to retain his exemption, which he did, but Bertsch misinterpreted the rule. He thought meeting the requirement exempted him for '09. Instead, it exempted him for the remainder of '08. He didn't learn of his error until the Tuesday of Disney week, after he had already skipped the Ginn sur Mer Classic to sprinkle his father's ashes on their favorite hunting ground in North Dakota. Bertsch ranked 124th upon arrival at Disney, missed the cut and slipped to 126th, about $11,500 behind Laird. Ouch.
Finally, let's present the Lifetime Achievement Award, or a reasonable facsimile, to Love. His 20th career Tour victory earns him a lifetime exemption on the PGA Tour, which means he'll never have to worry about making the top 125.
Love is a candidate for the comeback player of the year, too, having worked his way back from a major ankle injury that required surgery about this time last year. Love's closing 64s gave him 15 consecutive rounds in the 60s at the Disney, breaking a tournament record held by Tiger Woods.
"At least I got one of his records," Love said, joking.
That's something. After all, it is a small, small world.
Look for Alan Shipnuck's latest Hot List at GOLF.com.