Afraid to swing and miss? Na

Multiple choice question: The most memorable part of Kevin Na's year has been (a) his first PGA Tour victory, (b) the 16 he took on a hole at the Texas Open, or (c) the televised whiff that really wasn't a whiff.

Talk about a mixed bag. Last week's triumph in Las Vegas might have been enough to offset the 16 in Texas — but it carries the added discovery that he sometimes whiffs on purpose.


"Probably one or two a round," said Na, whose move fell under scrutiny when he did it on the 15th tee Saturday.

Golf's rules allow a player to put the brakes on his swing without penalty if something distracts him or doesn't feel right. Lesser known is that under Decision 14/1.5, you can also pull up and purposely miss if you can't stop fast enough.

The question is intent. Na missed the ball by several inches, leaving no doubt that he had no intention of connecting. Hey, makes sense for a PGA Tour player.

Whether your buddies will go for it while playing for a $5 Nassau, well, good luck.

A smaller world: Though Tiger Woods' past-champion status will keep him playing majors for the next couple of decades, his fall from the world's top 50 might give a pair of World Golf Championships stops cause for 2012 concern.

The WGC-Cadillac Championship is the most in jeopardy, with Woods already missing the first PGA Tour criteria by not finishing among the FedEx Cup's top 30. He needs to get back inside the top 50 or stand among the FedEx Cup's top 10 at the end of the West Coast swing.

Woods also could miss the WGC Match Play bracket if he falls outside the top 64 by mid-February. He can thank Fred Couples for a spot in next year's WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, which has berths set aside for Presidents Cup team members.

Then again, Woods can make all this moot with a couple of good finishes in the next few months — perhaps as soon as this week's Open.

Tap-ins: Japan's Hideki Matsuyama, the surprise low amateur at the Masters, has earned a return trip after repeating as Asian Amateur champion. Matsuyama shot 65-67 on the weekend for a one-stroke victory. … Reigning NCAA champion John Peterson, formerly of LSU, makes his pro debut this week after qualifying Monday for the Nationwide Tour's stop in Chattanooga, Tenn.

— Jeff Shain