Players grateful for exemptions

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A couple of players on the PGA Tour this year realised they have sponsors exemptions to thank for earning their tour cards.

A couple of players on the PGA Tour this year realised they have sponsors exemptions to thank for earning their tour cards.

For Rod Pampling, the wait to see if he made it for another year went right down to the wire as he nervously watched the final PGA Tour event of the year on TV.

He eventually made it with only $2,033 to spare, finishing 124th on the money list, and Pampling says he spent the next month contacting every tournament director who gave him a sponsor’s exemption in order to thank them.

Even if in some cases he did not need the exemption, Pampling always felt like it gave him something to fall back on, which meant a lot to him.

“I’ve been doing this 25 years. I’m not saying I’ve never had a guy call me and thank me for doing that, but it’s the first in a long time,” AT&T National tournament director Greg McLaughlin said.

“It’s very rare. All the other guys are thankful and appreciative. But rarely do I get one after the season when a guy gets his card and calls you to thank you.

“As far as I’m concerned, he can play in one of my tournaments if he ever needs a spot. He’s set for life.”

A small gesture from Pampling, which he hopes others will take the time to do as well.

“It was just to thank them for helping me out,” Pampling said. “They didn’t have to do that. It was a simple gesture on their part, and it’s not that hard to call and say, ‘Thanks for that.’ I was just trying to do the right thing. Hopefully, I won’t need the invite again.”

Texan Joe Ogilvie had his own way of giving thanks. Playing with only conditional status this year, a number of exemptions helped him finish 116th and secure his full card for next year.

He promptly sent a number of tournament director gifts from what he regards as the best barbecue in his home state, Salt Lick.

“The help I got from these tournament directors … enabled me to finish in the top 125,” Ogilvie said.

“Obviously, I helped myself by playing well, but they certainly helped. I’m not a star by any means. I think I’m really good in front of corporates and sponsors, but I’m not going to sell three tickets. These guys helped me, and I wanted to show my appreciation.

“That was my ‘thank you’ note.”

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