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Luke Donald and Webb Simpson paired in money list showdown
October 19, 2011

World No. 1 Luke Donald, trying to complete a historic double by winning US PGA and European Tour money titles, will play alongside leader Webb Simpson in the season's last US event.

Tee times for the $4.7 million Children's Miracle Network Classic were announced on Tuesday and Britain's Donald, the runaway European Order of Merit leader but second to Simpson in the PGA, was paired with his rival for the US crown.

Australians Greg Chalmers and Nick O'Hern will join them in the fourth group off the 10th tee for round one on Thursday morning at 8:20 at the Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando.

Donald has not played the Disney event since 2003, when he missed the cut, but he returned to secure his chance at becoming the first man to win the PGA and European money crowns in the same season.

"There was never really a decision to be made," Donald said in a Twitter posting. "I have a chance of making history."

Simpson lost a playoff to Ben Crane at last week's PGA McGladrey Classic but overtook Donald for the season money lead with $6,200,243 after 25 events to $5,837,214 for the Englishman in 18 events.

That leaves Donald $363,029 behind and needing a victory or no worse than a two-way share of second to have any chance of capturing the US crown.

"It's going to be fun," Simpson said. "I'm sure he is rested and ready. It would be nice to run away with it, but it wouldn't surprise me if it's going to be pretty close."

If Donald wins the top prize of $846,000, Simpson would have to finish alone in second for $507,600 in runner-up money to deny Donald the US money title.

If Donald finishes as the lone runner-up, Simpson must finish no worse than alone in eighth place, worth $145,700, to edge Donald. If Donald shares second for $413,600, Simpson needs no worse than a four-way share of 21st to win.

How the duel plays out also figures to influence US PGA Player of the Year voting. Simpson won twice in the past two months and was runner-up in the PGA playoff race. Donald has won twice on the European Tour and once on US soil, the World Golf Championships Match-Play Championship in February.

The last time a player overtook the leader in the final event to capture the US PGA money crown was in 1996 when Tom Lehman won the Tour Championship to pass Phil Mickelson for the title.

Not since 2003 has the US PGA money title come down to the final event of the season. That year, Fiji's Vijay Singh kept his money edge on Tiger Woods at the Tour Championship to win the crown.

This year, Simpson and Donald add extra excitement to an event typically focused on PGA also-rans trying to keep their jobs.

While the Tour Championship is the end of the season for most players, four last events, the Fall Series, follow for those near the cutoff for qualifying for next year's US PGA lineup, which is the 125th spot on the money list.

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