Tournament: The Barclays Championship, August 25-28
Course: Bethpage State Park (Black), 7,468 yards, par 71 (Long Island, NY)
Defending Champion: Jason Day. Whereas Day was a few weeks into enjoying his first major (2015 PGA Championship), he really came into his own through the playoffs. His win here was in dominant fashion and let the world know he was marching towards #1 in the world.
Fun Fact: The course, though a public municipal, is pretty tough. In fact, there is a famous sign greeting golfers teeing it up on the Black Course: “WARNING – The Black Course Is An Extremely Difficult Course Which We Recommend For Only Highly Skilled Golfers.” The use of uppercase letters is very New York.
Television: Thursday-Friday, 2-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday, 1-2:30 p.m. (GC), 3-6 p.m. (CBS). Sunday, noon-1:30 p.m. (GC), 2-6 p.m. (CBS).
Former 'Dawgs in the Field (Seven): Hudson Swafford, Brian Harman, Russell Henley, Chris Kirk, Harris English, Bubba Watson, Kevin Kisner
The regular PGA Tour season is over, but the playoffs have just begun. There is a more detailed description available, but I’ll sum it up thusly: Points are earned throughout the season, higher finishes mean more points. Those with cumulative ranking of the top 125 in points make the first playoff event. After the first event, those with rankings in the top 100 make it to the 2nd, the top 70 make it to the third, and the top 30 make it to the Tour Championship where the highest point earner gets a $10 Million bonus (plus the normal Tour purses). There is almost $70 million on the line over the next 5 weeks (1 week break before the Championship), so players are stoked to try and win the big bucks.
This week is The Barclays held at Bethpage Black on Long Island. It has hosted two US Opens in recent years, and can be brutally long. But instead of going into a somewhat recently developed tournament, I thought I’d bring everyone up to speed on the former UGA golfers who made the playoffs, their current playoff ranking, their earnings, and some key season-long stats. So keep reading for a breakdown of the Bulldogs:
Hudson Swafford (#90): Swafford had a solid 2016 campaign, with 19 of 27 cuts made and $846k in earnings. #9 in driving distance, but #198 in around the green stats.
Brian Harman (#88): 18 of 28 cuts made and 2 top 10s equaling $1,003k. He’s #16 in putting on Tour.
Russell Henley (#83): Only 11 of 23 cuts made, but he had 4 top 10s which gave him $1,206k in earnings. His best stat is #27 in Greens in Regulation %, which means he gets on the green from no matter where.
Chris Kirk (#60): 16 of 25 cuts made, but 2 top 10s and 11 of those cuts made were top 25s, so he was always drawing a decent check. To the tune of $1,506k. Just good all around.
Harris English (#35): 19 of 24 cuts made, a 2nd place and 3rd place finish, and $1,941k in earnings this season. He’s #8 in putting, but #164 in driving accuracy and #111 in Greens in Regulation. So he takes forever getting to the green, but is quite good once there.
Bubba Watson (#24): Only played in 15 tourneys, but made every cut, winning 1 and coming in 2nd in another, and 4 other top 25s. This normally equates to good money, and I think his $3,020k is just that. He’s 4th in driving distance, and 20th in Greens in Regulation, but only #120 in putting. Give him English’s or Harman’s putting stroke and Bubba might be #1 in the world.
Kevin Kisner (#11): 18 of 23 cuts made, a win early in the season and another 2nd place finish, and 10 top 25s. All that means he tops the list of UGA bread winners with $3,200k. He ranks #23 in birdie average, #34 in scoring average, and #11 in putting. Nerves of steel, and he can go on a run.
So these seven alone earned over $12.7 Million, with 2 wins, 3 2nd place finishes, a 3rd place finish, 14 top 10’s. It isn’t the unprecedented seasons over the past couple of years, but it’s still impressive and UGA is specifically mentioned in most every PGA Tour TV broadcast, which is a point of pride. So if you’re looking for something to do instead of marveling at Greg McElroy’s every-changing hairline, tune in to root on some former Dawgs making bank. And as always….