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What tournaments will benefit in 2012

Kevin Currie, Golf Editor

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Tiger Woods might be tweaking his schedule next year and Lee Westwood is rejoining the tour for the first time since 2008.

So what tournaments will benefit from their potential appearances?

Woods has already announced that he will start his season in Abu Dhabi, which means the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines won't have Woods headlining the field.

Tiger Woods hasn't announced his schedule yet for 2012 past the Abu Dhabi event.
There have been multiple reports that Woods will start his season at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am, a tournament that has lost some of its luster over the years.

However, as he is wont to do, Woods hasn't announced his schedule yet for 2012 past the Abu Dhabi event.

The only events we can guarantee Woods will appear at are the four majors and three World Golf Championship events, if he is still qualified. One other tourney Woods will play is the AT&T National.

That event returns to Congressional after a two-year stint at Aronimink Golf Club so that Congressional could prepare, then host, the 2011 U.S. Open.

Unfortunately for Woods, the AT&T has lost some of its appeal as well. The event lost what had been its traditional spot on the calendar of July 4th weekend as it is slated for June 28-July 1.

What other seven events Woods plays is up in the air. You will likely see him at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Wells Fargo Championship and the Memorial. Other than that is anyone's guess, as always.

As for Westwood, he'll be at the majors and WGC's so that's seven of the 15 events he'll need to play in to be a full-time member.

Throw in the Honda Classic, Houston Open and St. Jude Classic, three events he has played each of the last two years, and you're up to 10 events for the Englishman.

Even if he qualifies for all four FedExCup playoff events, there is still one more tournament for Westwood to tee it up at. Among the options would be the Wells Fargo Championship and the AT&T National.

Those events would be opposite the Open de Espana, which Westwood hasn't played since 1997, and the Irish Open, where Westwood made his last appearance in 2009.

Three other places Westwood could possibly tee it up at are the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the Players Championship and the Memorial.

Obviously, Westwood has plenty of options, but he shouldn't just anticipate playing all four playoff events. If he plays his schedule correctly, Westwood will have played at least 12 or 13 events prior to the FedExCup playoffs.

Which tournaments will gain from the appearance of one, or two, of the top players in the world remains to be seen. No doubt there are several tournament directors out there pleading to get these players at their events.

THE Q SCHOOL PRESSURE COOKER

The LPGA and PGA Tour Q Schools are well underway and the fields are both are dotted with a variety of players.

There are former major champions, a former world No. 1 and players that have won big amateur events.

David Duval, the 2001 British Open champ and former world No. 1, is a couple of strokes from regaining his PGA Tour card for 2012 midway through third round of PGA Tour school.

Windy conditions have affected both events, especially the LPGA's Qualifying tournament. Just four players shot 70 on Thursday, while 22 players shot 80 or worse.

The wind, mixed with the pressure, has held scores down at both events. Many think this is the hardest event of the year. Some may say the major championships are more difficult, but both Q Schools are longer. (Six rounds for PGA and five for LPGA)

The difference between getting your tour card and not is the difference between playing for thousands of dollars as opposed to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Take Adam Hadwin as an example. He is trying to earn his PGA Tour card for the first time after playing the majority of the 2011 season on the Canadian Tour.

On that circuit, Hadwin earned $42,627 in 11 starts. In just five PGA Tour events, including the U.S. Open, Hadwin earned over $440,000.

Despite what some may think, playing golf for a living is hard work. Having that hard work pay off with larger paychecks is what all of the players at Q School are fighting for.

MINI-TIDBITS

- Robert Allenby and Geoff Ogilvy got into a public dispute recently over their play at the Presidents Cup. What did or didn't happen is open to debate. One thing is for sure, these two Aussies getting into a tussle would be a good battle.

- Why is everyone up in arms about Rory McIlroy playing the Irish Open instead of the AT&T National? He won the U.S. Open at Congressional, not the AT&T. And who wouldn't want play their national open over an event in another country?

- Condolences to the family of Bud Lewis. Lewis, 103, had been the oldest living member of the PGA of America, an organization he joined in 1931.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Kevin Currie at kcurrie@sportsnetwork.com.

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