Baird in last-chance saloon

Eleven major champions will be in the field for this week’s Children’s Miracle Network Classic on the PGA Tour.

Eleven major champions will be in the field for this week’s Children’s Miracle Network Classic on the PGA Tour.
But most attention will be focused on the names at the wrong end of the money list who are battling to secure full playing rights for next season.
Only the top 125 after this, the final official tournament of 2010, regain fully exempt status for 2011, meaning Walt Disney World Resort in Florida will perhaps not be the happiest place on earth for this week at least.
The man in 126th place on the money list is American Briny Baird, but the 38-year-old insists he is trying to take the pressure in his stride.
“I’m approaching it like a three-foot putt,” Baird said. “There are only two things that can happen, either it goes in or it misses.
“Either I play well enough to keep my card or I don’t, and then I have to go to q-school in two weeks. Those are the only two options, so it’s not like I’m dreading this week.”
Baird has easily kept his card every year except 2005, when he coincidentally finished 126th on the money list.
And after four second-place finishes, he has earnt more money in his career (USD11.5million) than anyone who has yet to win on tour.
“I am surprised to be in this position,” Baird admitted to “But if you want to be one of the top players in golf, you have to perform. That’s the beauty of the game.
“There are no five-year, guaranteed contracts in golf. You can’t sign a big deal and then just take it easy for a while.
“I just haven’t been hitting the ball that well. It’s no secret. It’s not that I’ve lost some motivation or that I’m spending too much time on my boat.
“My game is usually about hitting the ball well and I just haven’t done that consistently this season.
“One of my biggest motivations to play well this week is I want this season to be over with. I don’t want to have to spend the next two weeks grinding over my golf game when I should be spending time with my family.”
Baird is just under USD13,000 behind Troy Matteson in 125th and finished second at Disney six years ago, but admits scraping into the top 125 would not make his season a success.
“It’s kind of unfair to base my season on one week, but that’s the position I’ve put myself in,” Baird said. “If I do get in the top 125, it’s not a victory by any means. I’m still not happy with the way I’ve played this season.
“But I’ve played this game long enough to know there are going to be periods when you play well and periods when you don’t. Hopefully, I’ll play well enough this week that this period will be over with.”