According to the numbers crunched this week by statistical guru Jeff Sagarin, who does rankings for Golfweek magazine, all seven Fall Series events had better fields than the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, N.C., and the John Deere Classic, both regular-season tournaments.
It's interesting to note that, in a move that was widely applauded, Masters chairman Billy Payne last spring reinstated the rule in which all PGA Tour winners will be offered automatic exemptions to Augusta National.
That is, everybody but the seven Fall Series winners and those who won events staged opposite the three remaining majors or World Golf Championship tournaments.
Sounds like the Augusta brass should revisit their plan, especially since two of the seven Fall Series winners, Stephen Ames and Mike Weir, had already qualified for the Masters via other means. Thus, had the fall winners been included in Payne's plan, it would have meant adding a maximum of five more players to Augusta National's limited invitational field in 2008.
Moreover, the Fall Series had a list of winners that was more familiar to fans than many of the names who won in the regular season. Included were Justin Leonard, Chad Campbell and Steve Flesch, who all have multiple tour victories. The seven winners have combined for 29 career victories, two majors and two Players Championship wins.
Hardly a bunch of complete stiffs, in other words.
I have always felt and said that a man who can be a champion in one era could be a champion in any other era because he has what it takes to reach the top. BEN HOGAN