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The Loop

Hart: Comeback Player of the Year?

September 25, 2008

ATLANTA -- It was just a year ago that Dudley Hart was looking at a few months of being snowbound in Buffalo, NY, and then facing the prospect of having to scramble to keep his playing privileges after taking most of the year off to tend to his triplets while his wife, Suzanne, underwent life-threatening lung surgery. Now, Hart is on his way to, perhaps, being the PGA Tour Comeback Player of the Year and has already secured a spot in the next April's Masters, thanks in part to the second-place finish at the BMW Championship that put him in the Tour Championship.

"Golf was just starting to come back into my mind," Hart said of last September. "My priorities were elsewhere, obviously."

While the Masters was a nice perk for his efforts thus far in the "playoffs," under the old system Hart probably would have qualified for the Tour Championship from the money list anyway. "It was something I thought about after I signed my card," Hart said of his second place in the BMW. And, looking forward to an exercise in herding cats, he said, "The first thing that excited me was having my kids caddie for me in the Par Three tournament. I've always dreamed about that. They weren't even born the last time I played."

Though the point system, at least partially, played into his hands this time around, Hart isn't completely sold on it. "That's my only issue with the playoffs is what it means for next year," he said. "In other sports, it doesn't really affect how your schedule is going to go the next year. [Here] it can greatly affect your schedule for next season. That's the only issue I think I have with it being so volatile, is that some guys that had pretty damn good years and maybe didn't play so well in the playoff section [are] not able to go to those events. At least, not yet."

-- Jim Moriarty