Winners and losers from final Q-school as PGA qualifier
D.H. Lee of South Korea wiped away a single tear when he realized he had earned a job on the PGA Tour. Moments later, Edward Loar stood tall as he spoke about two shots into the water on the last two holes at Q-school that sent him back to the minor leagues.
Amid this familiar contrast of emotions, a sense of nostalgia swept across the desert late Monday afternoon in La Quinta, Calif.
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"To get this one is extra special, knowing that next year guys won't have this opportunity," said Scott Langley, one of 25 players who earned cards in the final edition of this six-round tournament that offers a ticket to the richest tour in golf.
The PGA Tour next year will end a half-century of tradition when Q-school will only provide cards to the secondary Web.com Tour.
The PGA Tour is changing its structure to make it more competitive than ever. The players who failed to reach the FedEx Cup playoffs will meet in a series of four tournaments called "The Finals," and the 25 players who earn the most money from those events will get their cards.
That was on the mind of so many players who sweated out six days over two golf courses at PGA West.
Lee birdied his last three holes for a 5-under 67 on the Stadium Course to win Q-school, which gives him the highest priority of the 25 players who earned cards, along with a $50,000 first-place check. Ross Fisher of England, who won two matches at the Ryder Cup two years ago in Wales, was among those who finished one shot behind.
Fisher has played plenty in America, mostly the majors and World Golf Championships because of his world ranking. But when he heard about the PGA Tour's change, he skipped the season-ending European Tour event in Dubai to get ready for Q-school.
"This game can go high and it can go low," Fisher said. "Last year for me was not great. This year has been a work in progress. But it was the last year of Q-school, and it was nice to create a bit of history to be one of the guys at the last one."
Camilo Villegas, who won back-to-back FedEx Cup playoff events in 2008, had to return to Q-school and missed his card by two shots. Villegas said he would hope for sponsor exemptions to try to get back his full status.
Heath Slocum, only three years removed from a FedEx Cup playoff win in which he beat Tiger Woods, Ernie Els, Steve Stricker and Padraig Harrington with a birdie on the last hole, also failed to get through. Slocum needed a birdie on his last hole, but a bad swing came at the wrong time. He pulled his tee shot into the water and made bogey. A day earlier, Slocum's ball moved a fraction of an inch before a putt and he called a one-shot penalty on himself.
"They say crazy stuff happens in Q-school, and it does," Slocum said. "That's never happened before. That's one shot. You never know when one shot can help."
Among those earning their cards was Erik Compton, who only four years ago nearly died of a heart attack while driving himself to the hospital. He made it in time to survive and get a second heart transplant.
"This is hell week," said Compton, who said he slept only two hours each of the last two nights. "There was a sense of urgency for me. I don't know if my health is going to hold up. If I could only go to the Web.com Tour, I probably would beat myself up."
Robert Karlsson, another former Ryder Cup player whose game was in such disrepair that he withdrew from the British Open this year because he didn't know where the ball was going, made it with three strokes to spare.
High school basketball
Fleming Co. over Rowan Co. in double OT
Darion Burns and Troy Steward both scored 28 points and Fleming County outlasted Rowan County 81-76 in double overtime. Burns also had eight assists. Matt Brown had 16 points and 19 rebounds for Rowan County.
■ Tereka Guyn had 18 points, five rebounds and five blocked shots in Scott County's 71-29 rout of Sayre. Audriana Christopher added nine points, 10 assists, six rebounds and five steals. Gabby Bowie lead the Lady Spartans with 14 points and eight rebounds.
■ Nannilena White went 10-for-13 from the free-throw line and finished with 19 points and five assists in Franklin County's 56-48 win at Lafayette. Dee Givens had 20 points for the Lady Generals.
■ Eighth-grader Kailey Coffey had 24 points and 13 rebounds in Russell County's 71-66 win against McCreary Central.
No. 4 Syracuse rolls over Eastern Mich.
Michael Carter-Williams had 11 points and 11 assists, freshman Jerami Grant had a season-high 11 points and two blocks, and No. 4 Syracuse beat Eastern Michigan 84-48 on Monday night. Syracuse (6-0) has won 48 straight nonconference games and boosted its home winning streak to 26 games.
■ Vic Moses scored 23 points to lead Georgetown College (7-3) to a 96-72 win over visiting Knoxville College on Monday night in Davis-Reid Alumni Gym. Mychal Parker scored 16 and Monty Wilson had 11 points and 10 rebounds.
■ Jud Dillard had team highs of 20 points and seven rebounds off the bench as Tennessee Tech rolled over NAIA-level Berea 69-45 in Cookeville, Tenn. Berea was led by Aaron Ponder with 11 points.
Knight, Prince lead Pistons to victory
Brandon Knight scored 17 points, Tayshaun Prince and Kyle Singler had 15 apiece and the Detroit Pistons beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 89-79 on Monday night for their fifth straight home win. Detroit is 1-10 on the road but 5-3 at home, and the Pistons have recovered a bit after losing their first eight games of the season.
■ LaMarcus Aldridge had 25 points and 13 rebounds, Luke Babbitt hit a pair of clutch three-pointers and the Portland Trail Blazers overcame an 18-point fourth quarter to beat the host Charlotte Bobcats 118-112 in overtime. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had eight points, three rebounds and three assists for Charlotte.
■ Ryan Anderson scored 22 points, Robin Lopez added 21 and the host New Orleans Hornets won for only the second time in 11 games, 102-81 over the Milwaukee Bucks. Doron Lamb had four points and one rebound for Milwaukee.
Napoli to Red Sox, A-Rod sidelined
The Boston Red Sox began to play catch-up by getting All-Star catcher Mike Napoli, Tampa Bay took a chance on James Loney and the New York Yankees prepared for more time minus Alex Rodriguez during a brisk Monday at baseball's winter meetings.
The World Series champion San Francisco Giants kept center fielder Angel Pagan while the Texas Rangers brought back catcher Geovany Soto and neared a deal with injured closer Joakim Soria.
The Yankees know Rodriguez won't be in the lineup on opening day. The 37-year-old third baseman will have surgery on his left hip and could be out until the All-Star break. "It's a significant blow," Yankees GM Brian Cashman said. "But we've dealt with significant blows and, hopefully, we'll be able to deal with this one, as well."
The last word
The Houston Texans, off to a franchise-best 11-1 start, will face Tom Brady and the New England Patriots on Monday with an injury-riddled and inexperienced secondary. Coach Gary Kubiak said, only half-jokingly:
"Well it's Monday and it's scary so I'm sure it's going to be real scary getting toward the end of the week. We know we're going to play a great player and one of the top passing games in the business for a long, long time. It's a challenge."