We now have 50 new cardholders for the upcoming PGA Tour season.
Some are very new, some are very old.
A lot of recycled stuff goes through the Web.com. Marginal guys whose games are fading, guys like Ben Crane and Jonathan Byrd, guys who are having trouble keeping up with the unmitigated wave of talent that has been invading the PGA Tour for the last few seasons.
You see most of the “50” this week when the 2017-2018 season begins. Already? Yeah, seriously, already. They start Thursday in Napa at The Safeway, played at Silverado — Johnny Miller’s hangout.
You won’t see the big names — time for vacation. Yeah, Jordy, D.J., Rickie, the guys people come out to see, they’re off to wherever it is they go when they want to simply relax and decompress from a long season.
In Napa you get “the rabbits.” That’s what we used to call the lesser-knowns back before it became an all-exempt tour. Back in the day, only the top 60 were exempt. The others spots in every tournament were filled in Monday qualifiers, 18 holes to see if you have a chance at a check that week. Tough way to try and make a living.
Those days are long gone. Now even the Web.com guys are making money. Guys winning the events in the Web.com finals were collecting $180,000-plus.
One of them was Peter Uihlein and today we present Peter as the DogLegNews player Most Likely To Succeed this season on the PGA Tour.
Make no mistake about it, Uihlein is a seasoned player with a great resume. Oklahoma State Cowboys golfer, two-time All-American there. U.S. Amateur champion in 2010.
He went the Brooks Koepka route and earned his wings in Europe. Went to the Challenge and Sunshine Tour progression and earned his way as a fully-exempt player on the European Tour.
He won the 2013 Maderia Islands Open. Nearly won the Alfred Dunhill Links last year. Lost in a playoff. Was the 2013 European Tour Rookie Of The Year.
Uihlein is golf-battle tested, proved that by winning the first leg of the Web.com finals at the Nationwide. Nothing to this Web.com stuff, there’s tougher competition in Europe.
Peter’s in the field at Silverado. Should be, he’s pretty well rested. Winning quickly at Nationwide took away what little pressure there was on the 28-year-old. Sure’s he’s not as young as the guys like Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth, but he’s right there with Rickie Fowler.
In the big picture, this Safeway event is small potatoes. Consider that Uihlein currently ranks 15th in the Race To Dubai standings over in Europe and they still have a bunch of big money events going to conclude their season and Uihlein will no doubt want to win his piece of the bonus pie over there.
“There are so many good events now in Europe,” said Uihlein, who has made 114 starts on the European Tour. “It’s really tough. I got to sit down and look at both schedules. I just don’t know. I don’t know next year’s schedule in Europe. I haven’t looked at the PGA TOUR schedule. Right now, I don’t know where I’m going to be playing, but I’m going to try and do both and see what happens.”
At some point Uihlein will have to make a decision and that will probably be an easy one. He’ll be a full-fledge member of this tour. No ifs ands or buts about that.
He’ll sneak over to Europe from time to time. Knows the lay of the land.
In the meantime, don’t be surprised to see Uihlein win this year on the PGA Tour.
Oh by the way, if the last name sounds familiar, his dad Wally just retired as chairman of Acushnet Brands, as in Titleist.
So yes, sometimes rich kids do make it!