Pampling spent the next month trying to contact every tournament director who gave him a sponsor exemption in 2011, thanking them for helping him get his card again.
“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.”
Pampling most likely was not alone. Even so, it was a classy gesture worth pointing out with hopes that it gets repeated.
“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.”
ZACH’S YEAR: Before showing up for his final tournament of the year, Zach Johnson met with his team for a two-day summit to assess the season and look ahead to 2012. He failed to win for the first time since 2006, but the year didn’t feel like a failure.
“We looked at the goals we had,” Johnson said halfway through the Chevron World Challenge. “We have three or four specific goals, and I accomplished all of them but one. And the one I didn’t, I was awfully close.
“For the most part, it was all pretty good. You’d think we would have a banner year, but we didn’t,” he said. “The more I chewed on it, the more I realized it was going the right way.”
The next day, he shot 68 to take a one-shot lead and wound up losing to a birdie-
birdie finish by Tiger Woods, which would seem to indicate he is heading in the right direction.
Even so, nothing beats holding a trophy.
“I don’t think winning is the only formula for a great year,” he said. “But you want to win. That’s why you play.”