You always want to make the cut in a PGA Tour event. But playing all four rounds at this week’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am – where weather delays are keeping the tournament from ending as scheduled on Sunday night, California time – actually comes with a downside, at least for 15 pros who had another tee time already planned for Monday.
That’s because of what’s happening later this week. The PGA Tour is holding its first full-field “designated” event at the WM Phoenix Open, with a $US20 million purse on the line and a $US3.6 million first-place prizemoney payout for competitors at TPC Scottsdale. The field is stacked with top-ranked golfers – eight of the world’s top 10 are in the field and just four players in the top 50 who are eligible for the WMPO are not competing (Will Zalatoris, Sepp Straka, Adam Scott and Mito Pereira). But there are three open spots remaining for players who aren’t in the field but have signed up to play in the Monday qualifier being held at McCormack Ranch in Scottsdale.
Interest in that Monday qualifier was at record levels, with 624 golfers competing in eight pre-qualifiers and 112 players ready for Monday’s 18-hole shootout. Among them are 15 players who are still playing golf at Pebble Beach. By sticking around the Monterey Peninsula on Monday, they will miss out on next week’s action and the opportunity to play for the extra big bucks.
But as the saying goes, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. They’re guaranteed a cheque and potential FedEx Cup points at Pebble, whereas they’re going to need a really, really low round to make it out of the 133-player Monday qualifying field.
The players impacted are: Byeong-Hun An, Aaron Baddeley, Jonas Blixt, Eric Cole, Tano Goya, Harry Hall, Nick Hardy, Sung Kang, Sean O’Hair, Sam Stevens, Martin Trainer, Kyle Westmoreland, Trevor Werbylo, Dylan Wu and Kevin Yu.
“It’s unfortunate that some participants are going to miss out of the WM Phoenix Open Monday qualifier due to the weather issues they have been experiencing at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am,” Bill Ibrahim, the chief operating officer of the Southwest Section PGA, which runs the Monday qualifier, told Golfweek. “With the WM Phoenix Open the first designated event of the year, I assume it hurts a little more missing out on trying to qualify with the uncertainty of these designated events in the future.
“It’s just bad luck for these gentlemen but as the old saying goes, ‘you can’t control mother nature.’ Hopefully it stings a little less since those making the cut are at least making a check this week.”
Interestingly, when play was suspended at Pebble on Saturday night, and a Monday finish was inevitable, nine golfers in the Pebble field withdrew, including two who were signed up for the WMPO Monday qualifiers – Will Gordon and Carson Young. Both players were longshots to make the cut, but they also decided they didn’t want to put themselves in a precarious spot of feeling bad that they rallied at Pebble.