The PGA Tour has made a major change to its annual qualifying procedure, with the road to the 2013-14 PGA Tour beginning late this month with a four-tournament series of events after the conclusion of the 2013 Web.com Tour schedule.
In recent years, the top 25 players on the Web.com (formerly Nationwide) Tour money list have qualified for the PGA Tour the next year, along with the top 25 finishers from the finals of Q-school.
The top 25 on the Web.com money list still qualify for the PGA Tour, but their priority status will be determined in the four-tournament series, which will features players from both the Web.com and PGA Tours.
The top 75 players from the Web.com Tour will compete in the four-tournament series, along with players 126-200 on the FedExCup points list, as well as non-PGA Tour members who have accumulated enough points to rank among the top 200.
The top 25 on the Web.com money list will join the top 25 finishers in earnings in the four-tournament series not already exempt, with those 50 ranked in order of their standing from those four events.
With four tournaments left in the 2013 Web.com schedule, five golfers with ties to Georgia were in the top 25 on the money list, with four of them guaranteed a spot on the 2014 PGA Tour. A sixth player was just outside the top 30, with a handful of others in the top 75, and a few who were one top tournament finish away from moving up into the top 75.
The Web.com regular season ends August 25 in Omaha, with the four-tournament series beginning Aug. 29 in Ft. Wayne, Ind. Tournaments are scheduled the next two weeks in Charlotte and Columbus, O., with the series concluding Sept. 26-29 in Jacksonville, the week after the Tour Championship.
The four Georgians assured of PGA Tour berths next year are recent Georgia Tech golfer Chesson Hadley, ex-Clayton State standout Will Wilcox, and former Georgia Bulldog teammates Brendon Todd and Kevin Kisner. Augusta’s Scott Parel was also in the top 25, but had not yet locked up his spot. Duluth’s Scott Dunlap was just outside the top 30.
Here’s a look at how Georgians have fared this year on the Web.com Tour, with money list standing in parentheses.
Chesson Hadley (3). The 2010 Georgia Tech grad has enjoyed an outstanding season, ranking in the top 20 in driving distance and greens in regulation and the top 10 in putting, scoring and the all-around category. He has a win – that coming in his home town of Raleigh, N.C. — a 2nd, two 3rds and a 6th, all since mid-May, in his rookie season following a strong showing in his first visit to the finals of Q-school.
Will Wilcox (5). The third year Web.com Tour member has also played extremely well from a statistical standpoint, ranking in the top 10 in a number of categories, including driving distance, birdies, eagles and scoring. The former Clayton State standout is 2nd in total driving and 3rd all around, with a win in Valdosta and a recent 2nd in Utah, where he shot 59 the final day (story, page 22). Like Hadley, Wilcox will be a rookie on the PGA Tour next year.
Brendon Todd (14). The Atlanta resident and member of the Bulldogs’ 2005 NCAA Championship team has made more starts this year on the PGA Tour (8) than Web.com (6), playing well enough in his Web.com appearances to clinch his return to full time PGA Tour status next year. In addition to a victory in the rain-shortened Stadion Classic at UGA, Todd has finished 21st or better in four of his five other Web.com starts, and has recorded four top-20 finishes in his last four PGA Tour starts. Next season will be Todd’s third as a PGA Tour member.
Kevin Kisner (16). After playing on the PGA Tour on 2011 and ’12, the Aiken, S.C., resident returned to the Web.com Tour and scored his second victory, winning an early-season event in Chile. Kisner, who also won as a rookie in 2010, ranks among the tour’s top putters, and will be looking to improve his showing on the PGA Tour, where he was 180 and 168 in his first two seasons.
Scott Parel (22); The Web.com Tour veteran scored his first victory in Wichita in June, but hasn’t done much else this year and still needs one more good week to lock up his spot on the 2014 PGA Tour, where he would turn 49 early in his rookie season. In his other 14 starts, Parel has missed nine cuts and has not finished higher than 34th.
Scott Dunlap (31). If Dunlap can improve his position, he will return to the PGA Tour at the age of 50, reaching that birthday this month. Dunlap, who will not have status on the Champions Tour, has enjoyed a solid season with three top-6 finishes. Continues to be one of the tour’s most accurate players, but putting remains a concern. Has been a PGA/Web.com Tour member since 1996 with two wins on the latter in 2004 and ’08. Last year was the first time since 2002 he played on the PGA Tour.
Hudson Swafford (54): After scoring a memorable victory as a Web.com rookie last year in the Stadion Classic at UGA, the recent Georgia Bulldog golfer let a chance slip away to qualify for this year’s PGA Tour. Has followed with a respectable season lacking the one big week needed to move up the money list. His stats are excellent across the board, but have not translated into better results, with a tie for 9th the best of his four top-20 finishes.
Aron Price (71): The former Georgia Southern golfer has just two top-25 finishes this season, with driving accuracy his only positive stat. Ranks near the bottom in both driving distance and putting, hindering his earning a fourth season on the PGA Tour.
Paul Claxton (78): His 15th season on the tour has been one of his poorest, but he had his best showing recently in Kansas City, where he was 2nd after 54 holes and finished T6. The 45-year-old former Georgia Bulldog and long time St. Simons resident has struggled to make birdies, with his greens in regulation stats a major factor. Still hoping for a fifth season on the PGA Tour, and has been gradually getting closer to top 75.
Josh Broadaway (80): The Albany native and resident has followed his career best season in 2011 with two decent but unexceptional years. Best showing is a T4 in Raleigh. Leads the tour in par-5 birdies, with his overall stats better than results. With four weeks left, was about $2,500 outside the top 75.
Reid Edstrom (109): Like Claxton, enjoyed his best week recently in Kansas City (T18), but that was his first top 25 of the year. Edstrom, who attended high school in the Atlanta area before playing on the golf team at Auburn, has mostly played at the mini-tour level during his career, reaching the Web.com Tour for the first time in his 30s. Other than scrambling, stats this year have not been good.
Richard Scott (113): Third member of Georgia’s ’05 NCAA Championship team on the tour, spent lots of time on mini-tours before playing as a Web.com rookie in 2012. St. Simons resident has struggled on the greens, and has made just 6 of 17 cuts with no top-20 finishes.
Ryuji Imada (123): After seven successful seasons on the PGA Tour, had his poorest showing last year and things have gotten worse in ’13. Other than a tie for 8th in the Stadion Classic at UGA, Imada hasn’t finished better than 40th in a season divided between the PGA and Web.com Tours. Once deft putting touch no longer enough to compensate for shaky ball-striking for member of 1999 UGA national championship squad.
Michael Sims (124): St. Simons resident has been on-and-off the tour since 2007, and is still looking for first big season. Has struggled most of this year, making just 3 of 13 cuts. Final round 62 in Greenville, S.C., led to a T9 finish, the only time he’s been higher than 50th.
Kyle Reifers (126). Played well in his first five seasons on the Web.com Tour, but not this year. Had no top 25 finishes in his first 12 starts before getting a last-minute spot in recent PGA Tour event in Mississippi and tying for 5th, exceeding his Web.com earnings on the season by almost $100,000. At this stage, Atlanta resident stands as good a chance of making the Web.com post-season through his play on the PGA Tour, where he has spent two seasons, as he does from the Web.com.
Matt Weibring (180): Former Georgia Tech golfer has had to battle Bell’s palsy, which
results in some facial paralysis and occasionally prevents him from closing an eye,. He has made just three cuts this year, one coming in the U.S. Open, the only time he has gone 72 holes since March. Weibring has bounced back and forth between the PGA and Web.com Tours in recent years, but may need a medical extension to play next year.