Playing on a sponsors exemption, jumped from T26 to finish 5th at Shell Houston Open after shooting final-round, 7-under 65. It was his first top-10 on TOUR since a T5 at the 2007 Viking Classic. Received exemption after doing a favor for tournament director Steve Timms the previous year. Timms approached him on the range late Tuesday in 2009 to ask if he could attend a sponsor dinner for Shell. Stopped practicing, returned to hotel to shower and change and made it to dinner on short notice. Timms returned the favor in 2010.
Career Best PGA TOUR Finishes
In 2009, made nine of 16 cuts on the PGA TOUR with two top-25 finishes. Lone top-25 finish of the 2008 PGA TOUR season came with a T21 at the Puerto Rico Open presented by Banco Popular. Didn't play again after hometown event, the Stanford St. Jude Championship, in early June. Underwent surgery on his left shoulder on June 10 to repair a torn labrum. Played on a Major Medical Extension in 2009. In 2007, made nearly $1 million and recorded three top-10 finishes, his most since 2003. Finished T5 at the Viking Classic, T6 at the Reno-Tahoe Open and T9 at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship. In 2006, played well down the stretch with two top-10s in final seven starts to finish in the top 50 on the money list. Finished second at the PGA at Medinah, his highest finish on TOUR since the 2003 PGA victory. Finished five strokes behind winner Tiger Woods. Runner-up to Paul Casey in the HSBC World Match Play Championship at the Wentworth Club. Beat Tiger Woods (4 and 3), Luke Donald (4 and 2) and Robert Karlsson (2 up) to reach the final. Victory over Woods ended Woods' five-tournament win streak. In 2005, made 12 cuts in 29 starts, with one top-10, a T7 at the Cialis Western Open. In 2004, cracked the top 100 on the money list for just the second time in eight seasons on TOUR, with 20 made cuts in 27 events. In 2003, became the fifth consecutive first-time major winner with his victory at the PGA Championship and finished 32nd on the money list, the highest in his six years on TOUR. Earned first career TOUR victory in 164th start (third career major start) at the PGA at Oak Hill CC in Rochester, NY. First player since John Daly (1991) to capture first TOUR event at PGA. Jumped from 169th to 46th in the Official World Golf Ranking with the win. Held the lead outright after 36 holes and shared the lead with Chad Campbell through 54 holes. Playing 72nd hole with a one-shot lead, rifled 7-iron from 175 yards to within inches of the hole for a memorable birdie and a two-stroke victory over Campbell. Finished week 4-under par with rounds of 69-68-69-70--276 and a $1,080,000 payday. In 2002, two top-10s nearly matched the three he had in his first 111 events on TOUR and one of those, a T3 at the B.C. Open, was the best finish of his career to date. In 2001, T13 at Qualifying School to retain TOUR card for following season. Enjoyed his best season on TOUR to date in 2000 thanks to a then-career-high three top-10s. In 1999, earned his first Nationwide Tour title at the Greensboro Open, edging Garrett Willis by one stroke. Was three strokes back of Willis with three holes to play in the final round but played the last three holes in 1-under par while Willis played them in 3-over. T9 at 1996 Qualifying Tournament to regain his TOUR card. In 1993, earned first TOUR card with T37 at the Qualifying Tournament. Friends with the rock band KISS and was a backstage guest of the band in Columbus, OH, the week following the 2003 PGA victory. Was honored with the 1994 Sons of Confederate Veterans Award for Bravery after saving two people from a sinking car while at a golf tournament in New Bern, NC. Wife, Stephanie, graduated from LSU and is an attorney. Father was one of the original pilots for FedEx in 1973. Shot 58 in the 1998 Omega PGA Championship pro-am in Hong Kong.
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