The great tension of the Children's Miracle Network Classic at Disney doesn't come from the strength of the field; most top-tier players are either off for the year or chasing bigger paychecks overseas. No, the drama comes from the guys whose names you rarely hear, the guys fighting desperately to hang onto the PGA Tour by edging into the top 125 on the season's money list.
Which brings us to Johnson Wagner. Entering the tournament at No. 153 on the money list, he appeared a long shot to make it inside the 125 line. But rounds of 70, 65 and 69 changed all that, and he entered Sunday with a chance to either win the tournament or, at the very least, secure his card for 2010. And when he canned this eagle on No. 14, you can imagine he was feeling pretty good about his chances:
Alas, it wouldn't last. Two holes later, Wagner double-bogeyed 16, which dropped him into what would become a tie for third place. If he pars 16 -- shoot, if he even bogeys it -- he's no worse than tied for second and comfortably inside the top 125. But it wasn't to be. He finished at 126.
As part of the 126-150 crew, Wagner is conditionally exempt, which means he'll play plenty next year. Still, the assurance of being a fully exempt tour member would have been a lot more comforting. If Wagner follows the lead of tourney winner Robert Garrigus, perhaps this weekend becomes little more than an ugly memory before long.