Nov
15
2010
No. 126 on the Money List, Johnson Wagner: Winner or Loser?
By Stephanie Wei under PGA Tour

Johnson Wagner: Triumph or Failure?

Johnson Wagner played his heart out at the Children’s Miracle Network Classic to improve his standing on the money list, but in the end, he was the odd man out at No. 126. Starting the week at No. 153, Wagner made up a lot of ground. Usually in golf, you’re in control of your own destiny, but when it comes to things like the money list and FedEx Cup points, some of a player’s fate is in the hands of another. In Wagner’s case, it was in Roland Thatcher’s.

Thatcher, who entered the final round with a substantial lead, vomited the tournament away, but he had a five-footer on 18 for par to finish solo second. Had he missed, Thatcher would have tied for second with Wagner, Spencer Levin and Rickie Fowler, and wouldn’t have made enough money to move to No. 122. In turn, Wagner would have slid in and received fully exempt status for 2011.

According to Intern Kevin, the WUP in-house Johnson Wagner expert, said Johnson would have moved to something like No. 119. For a while, Johnson held Troy Merritt’s fate in his hands, but then it switched to what Spencer Levin did. “It was craziness,” described Intern Kevin. If Levin had made a double-bogey on 18, Merritt would have been out because it would have meant a two-way tie for third for Johnson, who needed a two-way tie for third or better to get his card. As it turned out, he ended up in a three-way tie for third. Excruciating!

“I’m about to break down right now,” said Wagner. “I’m just shaking. I love this job so much and you can’t try to protect your job.”

However, Johnson’s week wasn’t a total wash. He was No. 153, so the plan was to attend the second-stage of q-school, which starts on Tuesday (coincidentally, he was going to play at the same venue where he won the ’08 Shell Houston Open). But now, Wagner has conditional status.

Here’s what he “missed”:

*Not “fully exempt” on the PGA Tour for 2011

*Can’t make his schedule; will spend plenty of time on alternate lists, making travel plans more dificult

*Misses out on sponsor money that comes along with being a fully-exempt member

But he gains:

*Not heading to 2nd stage of Q-school

*Having conditional status, which gets him in around 20 tournaments (at least that’s what it got the guys this year)

*He has momentum going to final stage of Q-school to see if he can earn his tour card back

Honestly, it’s not that big of a deal finishing No. 126 because the guys that are Nos. 126-150 earn conditional status and are guaranteed around 20 starts. It actually sucks to be the guy who finishes No. 151 since that basically gets you nothing, except a ticket back to the second-stage. (This year it’s Mike Weir, but he can probably use a lifetime money list exemption.)

So, in your opinion, was Wagner’s week successful or not?

(AP Photo)