Mike Weir of Canada, who missed retaining his PGA Tour exemption by just under $20,000, proved he belongs on the tour Monday with a resounding win in the PGA Tour final qualifying tournament.
Weir, a left-hander who played collegiate golf at BYU, fired a closing 8-under 64 at the PGA West's Weiskopf Course to earn medalist honors by three shots in the 108-hole event.
Weir's 24-under 408 total earned him $50,000 and the No. 1 status for PGA Tour events next year.
Jonathan Kaye of Phoenix, who led the tournament after the third, fourth and fifth rounds, shot a final-round 70 to tie for second with South African Deane Pappas at 411.
Four golfers -- Dave Stockton Jr., Pete Jordan, Greg Chalmer and Geoffrey Sisk -- tied for fourth at 412.
In all, 41 golfers earned PGA Tour exempt status by finishing at 10-under or better. However, PGA Tour fields are filled starting with the No. 1 qualifier, meaning the seven golfers who tied for 35th will have a difficult time getting into many events.
The next 50 golfers in the 169-player field earned full exemption to the developmental Nike Tour. The rest of the field hold conditional exempt status for the Nike Tour.
Weir started the 1998 season slowly, partly because his wife had just given birth to the couples' first child.
"I took about six weeks off before the season last year," Weir said. "This year I'll be a little better prepared. I'll get my game in shape, work out a little, stuff like that."
Among the golfers failing to regain full exempt status and relegated to the Nike Tour were past PGA Tour winners Guy Boros, Brian Claar, Robert Gamez, Dave Barr and Donnie Hammond. Among the players with conditional Nike exemptions are Gary Nicklaus, son of Jack Nicklaus , and six-time PGA Tour winner Bob Gilder.