Making the guest list
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
CHASKA, Minn. – Our annual visit with “Glory’s Last Shot,” better known as the PGA Championship, wouldn’t be complete without bringing up a pet peeve.
Why doesn’t the PGA of America amend its eligibility code so that one of the categories reads: Players ranked within the top 100 in the world rankings.
After all, that is the way it is with this major championship – has been for several years now – and it would be nice if officials would simply say so. As it is, the PGA Championship has so few eligibility codes (12) – when compared to the Masters (18), U.S. Open (18), and British Open (30) – that when the 11th one was done, only 121 players were exempt.
No worries, eligibility code No. 12 is where a good bulk of the field comes from – in this case, 35 of 156 players, or 22 percent.
Here’s how that eligibility code reads: “In addition, the PGA of America reserves the right to invite additional players not included in the categories listed above.”
Probably drawn up by some lawyer, because what PGA of American officials mean is: “We will keep inviting top 100 players until we have all of them on the guest list.”
The shocking news is that this year it required invites to a whopping 31 names, people like Martin Kaymer (14th), Ross Fisher (23rd), Alvaro Quiros (39th), and even Adam Scott (46th). None had qualified otherwise, though to be honest, a guy like Scott (an Aussie who is not a club pro or eligible for the Senior PGA Championship) only had eight ways to make it in.
Eyebrows were raised when the likes of Johan Edfors (98th), Brandt Snedeker (97th), Richard Green (95th), David Smail (91st), Ryo Ishikawa (59th), and Michael Sim (84th) got invites via category No. 12, but it shouldn’t have been a surprise, given the desire to have the top 100 invited.
And when that deed was taken care of, the PGA of America had a few spots opened, which went to 2010 Ryder Cup captains Corey Pavin (309th in world order), Colin Montgomerie (214th), former Ryder Cup captain Tom Lehman (191st), and Darren Clarke (103rd).