Golf's worst nightmare just happened to me. I'm Mr. 126, the guy
who missed his Tour card by one lousy spot on the money list.
The worst part is a scene that keeps replaying in my head: my
ball resting against the base of a palm tree, unplayable.
It happened two Sundays ago at the Walt Disney World Classic. I
had birdied the 14th, 15th and 16th holes to get into 20th
place, seven under par for the tournament. After starting the
week 127th on the money list, I was almost sure to move up
enough to keep my card as one of the year's top 125. All I had
to do was par in. But then I pushed my drive on the easy par-5
17th hole, and now, staring at my ball behind that tree, I saw
my Tour privileges slipping away.
I took a penalty stroke, reached the green in five and took a
double bogey. Instead of giving up, I made a 15-foot birdie putt
at 18. Suddenly it looked like I might squeak in. Reporters from
ESPN and the Golf Channel asked me how it felt--a birdie to keep
my card! My parents and my girlfriend, Margaret Mellin,
congratulated me. I was shaking when I went into the locker room
to check the computer. David Sutherland said, "Way to go, P.H.
You're in." But it slowly dawned on me that the numbers told a
different story. Blaine McCallister had shot 66 that day to beat
me out by $4,795 for the year. I lost my job by one shot.
Now I'm looking for a silver lining. I'm still partially exempt
for 1999, so I can play at least a dozen or so Tour events.
Another lift came from my big brother, Harry. His legs have been
paralyzed since a 1980 auto accident, but his spirit has been an
inspiration to me. "P.H., it's just another challenge," Harry
said. "In the long run it'll make you a stronger person and a
November 9, 1998
Next stop, PGA West--my eighth trip to Q school. I can't wait.
P.H. Horgan III, 38, has been a pro since 1990.