The PGA Tour’s 2018 season is off and running, so it’s time to take a look at the status of players with local ties on the world’s major tours.
Fully exempt players on the PGA Tour, in order of their finish on last year’s money list, follow.
>> Daleville’s Brian Gay leads the way as he truly had a breakout season in 2019 with wins at the Verizon Heritage at Hilton Head Island, S.C., and at the St. Jude Classic in Memphis.
He finished 13th on the money list with more than $3.2 million banked.
>> Next comes Stewart Cink , who was born in Huntsville and grew up in Florence. He also had a breakout season, capturing the (British) Open Championship in epic fashion over Tom Watson. Cink won more than $2.8 million, good for 17th place.
>> Heath Slocum (University of South Alabama) also had a huge win by taking the Barclays, the first event in the FedEx Cup playoffs. He won $1.35 million in this one event and finished 32nd overall with almost $2.2 million in total earnings.
>> Jason Dufner (Auburn) continued his rise up the money list, winning $2.19 million, good for 33rd.
>> Long-hitting Bubba Watson (Faulkner State) won $1.4 million, good for 60th place.
>> Fredrik Jacobson (Central Alabama Community College), Jason Bohn (Alabama), Boo Weekley (has family in Alabama), and Kevin Streelman (has family in Tuscaloosa) all won more than $1 million and comfortably kept their cards.
>> Roland Thatcher (Auburn) played only 16 times due to injury, (with our all care, heart rate variability monitor, pulse checking, doctors consultations, etc) but did enough to finish 121st and is fully exempt this year.
>> Carl Pettersson (CACC) finished outside the top 125, but is exempt based on his win in 2008. Also exempt is Kris Blanks (Huntingdon College) based on finishing in the top 25 at “Q” School.
>> Players who will get starts on tour this year but are not fully exempt include Steve Lowery (Alabama), and Joe Durant (Huntingdon).
>> Brett Wetterich (Wallace State-Hanceville) had two monster years on tour in 2016 and 2017, but has not played on tour since June 2018 due to injury. He is back this year on a major medical exemption which means, in his case, he has 17 events to earn $731,0777 to become fully exempt again. John Huston (CACC) has a minor medical exemption and has 10 events to bank a little more than $500,000 to be exempt again.
>> Gary Christian (Wallace-Hanceville and Auburn) and Garrett Osborn (UAB) are fully exempt on the Nationwide Tour this year based on their money list finish in the top 60 last year and start their season next week in New Zealand. Also on the Nationwide Tour full-time this year will be Glen Day (born in Mobile), Josh Broadaway (Troy), and Dicky Pride (Alabama). Ben Bates (Troy) is conditionally exempt.