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Golf in the Buff
What the heck was Martin Kaymer wearing around his neck last week? A Black Fly Buff, a loose tube of fabric that slips over the head. Kaymer said he had seen European soccer players wearing them, but for golf it was a fashion first—a high-tech, moisture-wicking, UV-blocking iteration of the old-school bandanna but without the fuss of tying. A Tour trend? Not on the Florida swing.
Johnson Wagner parred the first playoff hole to beat Spencer Levin in the Mayakoba Classic in Cancún, Mexico, but the real winner may have been the tournament itself. The Accenture Match Play doesn't have a site contract for 2012, and amid rumors of a departure from Tucson, tournament director Wade Dunagan told the Arizona Star, "Everybody is concerned, everybody is curious," but he could offer no assurances.
That kicked the rumor mill into high gear. One theory posits Palm Springs as an alternative, where the Match Play would replace the sponsorless Bob Hope Classic. Meanwhile, players say they heard the event will move to Harbour Town Golf Links in South Carolina, replacing the sponsorless Heritage Classic. Either way, the story goes, the Mayakoba would keep its spot and become the only Tour event on the schedule that week, a nice upgrade from the back-burner status it currently holds.
The average score at the HSBC Women's Champions in Singapore was 73.4, as only 13 of 63 players in the field finished under par on Tanah Merah Country Club's Garden course. That puts Karrie Webb's winning 13-under 275 into perspective. In holding off Chie Arimura of Japan by a shot and Yani Tseng (who shot a front-nine 31) by three, Webb became the second LPGA player to pass $16 million in winnings. She needs to reach $22,573,192 to catch the first, Annika Sorenstam.
Coming Up (Ex)Empty
Who gets sponsor's exemptions and how do those players fare? Of the 49 free passes this year, the chart to the right shows which players have done the best in frequency or earnings. As for tournaments, the Phoenix Open chose wisely, with three of five invitees finishing in the money. The worst? The Farmers Insurance Open had six of its eight exemptions miss the cut, and the Mayakoba Classic saw 10 of 13 exit early.