From Doug Ferguson's notes column:
The PGA Tour scored a small victory last month when the USGA recognized the FedEx Cup while handing out exemptions to the U.S. Open. Along with giving a free pass to the top 30 on the PGA Tour money list, those in the top 30 in the final FedEx Cup standings don't have to qualify, either.
It was thought the USGA would pick one or the other, but officials recognized it would only affect a couple of players. By also taking the field from the Tour Championship, Jonathan Byrd and Camilo Villegas are exempt for Torrey Pines.
"Doing the numbers, I am very confident that the majority of the U.S. Open field will still come via qualifying," USGA executive director David Fay said Tuesday. "Adding the Tour Championship field will not tilt that."
And that was important to the USGA, since 54 percent of the field last year came from qualifying.
"Not to bring politics into this in an election year, but we like to think the U.S. Open is the most democratic golf championship," Fay said.
First, isn't it great to see David quoted again? I thought Walter Driver and Pete Bevacqua had shipped him to some secure, undisclosed location.
Second, it's a sad day when the Executive Director can't weave one of his wily baseball metaphors into this, especially since he probably was closely monitoring the Yankees spring training game webcast as he was talking to Ferguson.
But finally, I hate to break the news to such a well-educated man, but unless the U.S. Open is a superdelegate that'll be in Denver this August to cast the deciding vote for Obama, there is nothing our election year has to do with calling the U.S. Open democratic.
Then again, considering the way the USGA has set up courses to make it all about their egos and the fact they have these special new corporate relationships, I'd have to lean more towards fascist. But that's just me.
David, this is what happens when you stray from your baseball metaphors. Stick to what brought you to the big dance!