Johnson Wagner already is resigned to going back to Q-School just two years after winning the Shell Houston Open. His hope is that expecting the worst can lead to a change for the better.
Wagner was forced into a five-week break when he failed to qualify for the FedExCup playoffs. After taking two weeks away from golf, he spent time with his coach and got after it so he would have no excuses.
He tied for eighth in the Viking Classic, then tied for 25th at Sea Island. That at least has moved him to No. 147, with the belief he at least is headed in the right direction.
“I’m looking at these five weeks as basically Q-School,” Wagner said. “It’s looking like I might have to go back, and I don’t want to. I’ve been playing to protect something all year, and now I have nothing to protect.”
What was he trying to protect?
“My job,” he said.
He was hurt by finishing at No. 153 a year ago. While he was exempt from his 2008 Houston Open win, Wagner was not eligible for limited-field events like the Colonial, Memorial and AT&T National.
“I just wasn’t getting the starts when I was playing well,” he said.
The bigger problem was being consumed with results -- making the cut, climbing the leaderboard, trying to get into the top 125 to qualify for the playoffs, trying to cash a decent check.
“The point is to win and have chances to win,” Wagner said.
He has three more weeks to sort that out.