Redskins

Pressure is on for players trying to keep cards

Pressure is on for players trying to keep cards

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) The final PGA Tour event of the year is a lot like the final stage of Q-school, one last chance for so many players to earn their full cards for next year. The field at Disney looks like Q-school, too.

The only player from the top 50 in the world ranking is Robert Garrigus, who checks in at No. 42.

Only five players from the top 50 on the PGA Tour money list are at Disney - Garrigus (26), Ben Curtis (30), Jonas Blixt (35), Brendon de Jonge (39) and Charlie Wi (45). And six players have won on tour this year - two against weak fields in the Fall Series (Blixt and Tommy Gainey) and two against even weaker fields at opposite-field events (Scott Stallings and George McNeill). The others are Curtis at the Texas Open and Ted Potter Jr. at the Greenbrier Classic.

For sheer entertainment, the best bet might be at one of Disney's theme parks.

For the pressure of trying to perform with so much at stake, few regular PGA Tour events can match the tension of a golf tournament held on the expansive property of a resort that bills itself as the ``Happiest Place on Earth.''

The Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic gets under way Thursday on the Palm and Magnolia courses at Disney, with the opening two rounds a pro-am format.

The top 125 on the money list keep full exempt status on the PGA Tour next year, with Billy Mayfair smack on the bubble at No. 125. He has a lead of $2,665 over Trevor Immelman, who already is safe next year from his five-year exemption for winning the 2008 Masters. Mayfair is only $3,504 clear of No. 127 Gary Christian, a 41-year-old rookie from England.

``It's kind of nice to get to that stage now where you have to perform,'' Christian said Wednesday. ``This is it. You've got one more chance, and do good or you go home.''

Or in his case, go to the California desert at the end of the month for Q-school.

Christian felt remarkably relaxed. His wife and children were joining him Wednesday night and planned a week at the theme parks. Christian, who once held a job selling knives door-to-door, took a long time to reach the big leagues. He was on the Dakota Tour for six years, and the Nationwide Tour for seven years. He still appreciates the perks of the PGA Tour, from the courtesy cars to the pristine condition of golf courses like Pebble Beach and Bethpage Black.

The highlight of the year was playing a practice round with Tom Watson at The Greenbrier, and playing the third round with Tiger Woods at The Barclays. The lowlight? He couldn't think of anything, except for the usual aggravation that golf can cause on any level.

No stress?

``I'm sure there is if you've been on tour for 10 years,'' he said. ``I can understand if you've been used to making seven figures every year and you're on the outside look in, or on the inside hoping to hang in there. I've really got nothing to lose. If it all goes wrong, I assure you my wife still loves me and the kids still love me. And it just allow me to go and play with hopefully a lighter heart and go play great.

``I think it makes a man of you if I come through this and get into that top 125,'' he said. ``Then I think going forward, you use that as something very positive to fall on where you have one opportunity to perform and you did.''

These guys on the bubble have had more than one opportunity.

The players from No. 120 to No. 130 on the money list averaged 25 starts this year, and their own play put them in this predicament. Everyone through No. 122 - that would be 48-year-old Jeff Maggert - have enough of a cushion that they should be safe. That's not the case for Kevin Chappell at No. 123 or Rod Pampling at No. 124.

And that's certainly not the case for those beyond No. 125, such as Justin Leonard.

Leonard is one of the more under-appreciated players on tour. He got his card out of college without ever having to go to Q-school, and he has never come particularly close to losing his card. Despite being a peashooter in an era of bazookas, his 12 wins include the British Open and The Players Championship, and he lost two majors in playoffs.

But this has been a year to forget, and Leonard finds himself at No. 138 going into the last tournament.

Leonard had to be told that.

``I've made it a serious effort not to look,'' he said. ``I don't know where I am. I don't know what I need to do - just go out and play and do the best I can every day.''

Asked for his thoughts on the week, the Texan smiled.

``The kids are having a blast,'' he said. ``Usual Disney week, shuttling between the parks and the golf course.''

Leonard found himself consumed with the money list in the late spring, when he wasn't getting much out of his game. He stopped worrying about results and tied for fifth at the Reno-Tahoe Open and tied for 19th at Greensboro. But when he returned six weeks later and opened with a 64 in Las Vegas, he again was consumed of trying to make the most out of a good start and stumbled.

``I got caught up in what I needed to do,'' Leonard said.

He's not that bad off. If he loses his card, Leonard is No. 9 in career earnings at just over $31 million, and he can use a pair of one-time exemptions for being in the top 25 and the top 50 on the money list. He plans on using only one of them, and that depends on this week.

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Cousins and leadership, D-line potential

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Various sources

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Cousins and leadership, D-line potential

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, July 21, five days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics of the week on Real Redskins and NBC Sports Washington.

How the addition of Alexander affects the Redskins' DB depth chart—Adonis Alexander was brought into the NFL about a week and a half ago and in five days he’ll be on the practice field in Richmond. How much will missing OTAs and minicamp hurt him in comparison to, say, his former Hokie teammate Greg Stroman? I think that the plan is for this to be a “redshirt” year for Alexander to learn. But that was supposed to be the plan for Josh Harvey-Clemons and Chase Roullier last year and both ended up playing key snaps. 

Can the Redskins defensive line live up to its potential? Many NFL fans don’t appreciate the value of having a good defensive line. Redskins fans are not in that group because they have seen what you get when you try to build a defensive line with over-the-hill veteran free agents, low draft picks, and undrafted players. Fans will value the talent, youth, and depth on the 2018 D-line.  

10 Questions in 10 days: LB depth chart—This is another area where the Redskins have not invested much in recent seasons. At least this year they stepped up and re-signed starters Mason Foster and Zach Brown. They are the present. Are Shaun Dion Hamilton and Josh Harvey-Clemons the future? 

The pass rush must continue to be a strength for the Redskins—With the picture at the cornerback position is somewhat murky right now, the pass rush will be critical, especially in the early going. The outside linebackers lost a key reserve, putting the burden on Preston Smith and Ryan Kerrigan to continue to get pressure on Ryan Anderson to take a leap forward in his second season. 

Tweet of the week

Well, this tweet did sort of stir things up as did some of the things that Cousins said in an article by Dan Pompei on the Bleacher Report. The thing about Twitter is that there is no room for nuance. I was labeled a Kirk “hater” by some. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. On multiple occasions, I urged the team to sign him long term and highlighted the positive aspects of his play. 

But this thing about not having a “platform” to lead always struck me as a cop-out. Cousins talked about it during some press conferences while he was here. The length of your contract should not prevent you from embracing a leadership role. You’re getting paid to lead, just do it. Few in leadership positions in business or in the military know where they will be a year from now. They embrace the role while they have it and Cousins should have done the same. 

The fact that I don’t like this one aspect of Cousins doesn’t mean that I don’t like him overall. He’s a good quarterback and I think he will have success with the Vikings. I think that the price got to be too much for the Redskins and the decision to move on to Alex Smith was sound or at least the best they could do after it became apparent that he was not going to sign here. But it’s not all one or the other. It is possible to see the positive and negative of Cousins. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

Timeline

Mike Sellers, whose seven receiving touchdowns in 2005 were the most by a Redskins running back since the merger, was born on this date in 1975.

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 5
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 19
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 42

The Redskins last played a game 202 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 50 days. 

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Vernon Davis pulls off memorable proposal in Ocean City

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USA Today Sports Images

Vernon Davis pulls off memorable proposal in Ocean City

Vernon Davis has long been a fan favorite in the D.C. area since his University of Maryland days. The 34-year-old is almost always well-dressed and respectful to the media. 

More recently, he has been outspoken about his interest in acting after his football career. A true renaissance man who just so happens to be a force in the National Football League. 

In April, NBC Sports Washington ran into Davis at the Team USA Awards where he was serving as guest speaker. 

He took his smooth nature to a whole new level Tuesday while vacationing in Ocean City, Md. with his girlfriend Kayla. 

Dressed in all white on the beach, Davis proposed in an epic way. 

The best motivation I ever had. #shesmyrock

A post shared by Vernon Davis (@vernondavis85) on

Check out the whole video produced below. We won't spoil it for you, but there were skydivers involved. Take a look: 

Davis will suit up for his third season with the Redskins when training camp opens July 26 in Richmond.