Notebook: Siem gets one last long- shot chance to make it into Masters

Marcel Siem
Getty Images
Marcel Siem won in Morocco last week, but barely missed out on a Masters berth. He'll get in if he wins in San Antonio this week.
By
Doug Ferguson
Associated Press

Series: PGA Tour

HUMBLE, Texas – Marcel Siem of Germany narrowly missed out on the top 50 and his first trip to the Masters.

Now, he gets one more chance.

Tournament officials said Siem accepted a sponsor's exemption Monday to the Valero Texas Open. While the cutoff for qualifying for the Masters through the world ranking was last week, all winners of PGA Tour events that offer full FedExCup points get a trip down Magnolia Lane.

Ever since the Masters renewed its criteria to take PGA Tour winners in 2007, only one player has won the last event before the Masters to get in – Johnson Wagner at the Houston Open in 2008.

AMERICAN STREAK: Jonas Blixt of Sweden is becoming a footnote in history – the last foreign-born player to win on the PGA Tour.

Blixt won the Frys.com Open at CordeValle on Oct. 14. Since then, Americans have won all 16 official PGA Tour events, including 14 in a row to start the 2013 season. That matches the longest American streak to start the season since 1984. That run ended a week after the Masters when Nick Faldo won at Hilton Head.

As for the 16 in a row?

It's the longest streak of American winners since they won 17 straight in 2006. That streak began with Tiger Woods at the British Open (one week after John Senden won the John Deere Classic) and ended when K.J. Choi won at Innisbrook in the penultimate tournament on the official schedule.

GEORGIA CUP: A tradition that began in 1998 with Matt Kuchar as the winner resumes Thursday at The Golf Club of Georgia. U.S. Amateur champion Ben Fox faces British Amateur champion Alan Dunbar of Northern Ireland in the Georgia Cup.

The U.S. Amateur champion has an 8-7 edge in the series.

Kuchar won the inaugural competition in 1998 when he defeated Craig Watson. Over the years, the Georgia Cup has featured three future Ryder Cup players (Kuchar, Sergio Garcia, Edoardo Molinari), along with Ricky Barnes, Matteo Manassero, Peter Uihlein and Graeme Storm.

Former Masters and U.S. Open champion Billy Casper will serve as honorary captain.

Fox, a senior at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, won the last two holes in regulation and then made an 18-foot birdie on the 37th hole to beat Michael Weaver last summer at Cherry Hills in the U.S. Amateur. Dunbar, who played on the Walker Cup team in 2011, beat Matthias Schwab of Austria in 36 holes to win the British Amateur at Royal Troon.

DIVOTS: In a classy gesture to the caddies whose players were in the pro-am, Houston Open Tournament Director Steve Timms gave each of them an envelope with a $100 bill for helping out with amateurs in the group. ... The PGA Tour has decided not to alter the points system for the FedExCup playoffs this year. It had been discussing whether to reduce the amount of points in playoff events to keep the volatility but reduce the award of those who can move too high with a second- or third-place finish. ... The Jim and Tabitha Furyk Foundation raised about $300,000 for local children's charities through the ''Furyk & Friends Celebrity Golf Classic.'' Among the players who took part were Steve Stricker, David Toms and Justin Leonard. Also playing were Reggie Jackson and Chipper Jones. The foundation has raised $800,000 for charities since it began in 2010.

STAT OF THE WEEK: The Houston Open was the seventh tournament out of 14 this year on the PGA Tour that had a round suspended because of weather. The last two tournaments were suspended by storms. The others were suspended because of snow, darkness, frost, fog and wind.

FINAL WORD: ''I've dreamed of this since I was a boy.'' – Wocheng Ye, the 12-year-old from China who became the youngest player to qualify for a European Tour event.