KAPALUA, Hawaii -- Chris Smith plans to play every
tournament through The Players Championships except for Pebble
Beach and Bay Hill, with hopes of making his first trip to Augusta
Smith came up one round and two strokes short of not having to
worry about it. The Buick Classic champion finished 43rd on the
money list, just $89,000 short of 40th.
The top 40 get into the Masters.
''After Westchester, I was keeping track of where 40 was on the
money list the rest of the year,'' Smith said. ''Obviously, I
wanted to be sitting around the Christmas tree knowing I was going
to play at Augusta. I didn't quite make it.''
He ended the year in a tie for fifth at the Southern Farm Bureau
Classic. He was four strokes off the lead after three rounds, but
the final round was canceled because of rain and Luke Donald was
declared the winner.
''I wanted to get home because the year was over,'' Smith said.
''But I did want to play the last round because I knew I didn't
have to do a whole lot to end up getting in.''
He does now.
To get into the Masters, Smith needs to be in the top 50 in the
world rankings -- he starts the season at No. 84 -- or in the top 10
on the money list after The Players Championship. He also could win
the Players and get a three-year exemption.
Phil Mickelson isn't the only player whose wife is
expecting a child heading into the first major of the year.
Retief and Tracy Goosen are expecting their first child during
the week of the Bay Hill Invitational.
''I'm cutting back on my schedule a little bit on both sides of
the Atlantic,'' said Goosen, who was won the Order of Merit in
Europe the last two years. ''With Tracy expecting our first in
March, that will be another thing now that I'll not play as much.''
Goosen has a home at Lake Nona in Orlando, Fla., but he says the
baby will be delivered in England, which the South African
considers his primary residence.