October 20 2011
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Right now, it's a just a number. That's the way James Driscoll sees his spot at No. 125 on the money list.
On Sunday, when the PGA TOUR's season finale at Disney is complete … now, that's when the number becomes important. If Driscoll can maintain -- or improve his position -- he will have earned his playing privileges for the 2012 season.
Driscoll went a long way toward that goal on Thursday when he opened with a 66 in the first round of the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic. That round of 66 left the UVa product in a six-way tie for the lead with world No. 1 Luke Donald, Arjun Atwal, Nathan Green, Gary Woodland and Scott Stallings.
As the bubble boy, Driscoll expected some extra media attention this week. Otherwise, his attitude was the same as it's been the other 23 weeks he's played this year.
"I don't look at 125 as that special of a number," Driscoll explained. "The guys at 120 through 190 are kind of all in the same position. Everyone needs a good week this week. Every one of those guys needs a good week this week to avoid q-school.
"So I don't think the position I'm in is any different than
about 40 other guys here. Plus, I've known all along that the money
that I have up to this point isn't going to be enough. I've known
that for the last couple months. I've kind of been under the same
pressure for the last month from Vegas up until now trying to make
a few dollars and get out of this position.
"I obviously haven't done it, but hopefully things will start coming together."
Besides, Driscoll has been here, done this. A year ago, he came to Disney in an even more perilous spot, ranked No. 154 on the money list -- and that was after tying for fourth in his previous start in Las Vegas. He ended up tying for 40th in the Magic Kingdom, fell three spots and headed for the second stage of q-school.
"Being outside the top 150 is really nerve-wracking because then you got to go to second stage of q-school; if you don't do well there, then you're 100 percent back on the Nationwide (Tour)," Driscoll said. "So that was a tough position to be in last year.
"You know, I was proud of way I played. I finished, I think, tied for first at second stage, and then made it through finals. So I was pretty proud of the way I kind of buckled down and got it done there. ... It's not a position that's fun to be in.
“Anywhere from 120 to 160, it's just not where you plan on being at the beginning of the year. It is what it is."