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Dozen players given medical exemptions

Tom Byrum suffered the biggest heartache at the final stage of PGA Tour qualifying when he finished bogey-bogey to miss his card by one stroke. But thanks to a bum knee, he still has one more chance.

Byrum is among 20 players who have been granted various levels of medical extensions for 2007. He had knee surgery this summer, causing him to miss the final four months of the season. Byrum will get 17 starts to make $559,804, which would give him the equivalent of No. 125 on the money list and allow him to finish out the year.

Byrum and Scott Hoch were among a dozen players who sought and were granted extensions through the major medical category. Others on that list and the number of starts they get include Chris Perry (18), Scott McCarron (13), J.L. Lewis (14), Kevin Na (21), Hank Kuehne (21) and Carl Paulson (15).

Hoch's request was peculiar because he is 51 and might not even play a full schedule. His exemption is a carryover from 2005, and Hoch can get as many as 27 starts if he wants them. He also is eligible for as many two more exemptions from career money, depending on how he does when -- or if -- he plays on the PGA Tour.

"It would make it an advantage for me to play the regular tour for the sake of endorsements," Hoch said. "The deals I've got are a lot more if I played the regular tour."

He said Yonex did not renew his equipment deal -- Hoch had been with them since 1990 -- and he declined to say with whom he has signed because the contract was not final.

If he does play the PGA Tour, his first start might not be until after the Masters. He wants to try the Champions Tour first. He is no longer eligible for Doral, where he won in 2003, because it is now a World Golf Championship. And he fears the Bay Hill Invitational requires more power than he has.

Meanwhile, minor medical extensions -- injuries that kept them from playing for fewer than four months -- were awarded to seven players, including Rocco Mediate (10), Thomas Levet (10), Bill Glasson (3) and Steven Bowditch (5).

Andrew Magee also received a nonexempt medical extension, giving him two starts.



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