Harold Varner enters hometown WGC-Bridgestone needing FedEx Cup boost

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Harold Varner enters hometown WGC-Bridgestone needing FedEx Cup boost

PGA Tour

Harold Varner enters hometown WGC-Bridgestone needing FedEx Cup boost

Harold Varner III has been looking forward to this week for quite a while. Ever since he won the Australian PGA last December, a victory that earned him an exemption into this week’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club in Varner’s hometown of Akron, Ohio.

However, this week isn’t just important for the 26-year-old Varner because it’s a home game. No, Varner needs this no-cut, guaranteed-payday event badly.

Varner enters this week No. 133 in the FedEx Cup standings. He needs to crack the top 125 to avoid having to play the Web.com Tour Finals to keep his full Tour card and also be eligible for the first event of the FedEx Cup playoffs, The Northern Trust, and he has just two more weeks to do it. (Varner is currently not qualified for the PGA Championship.)

J.T. Poston holds the 125th spot at the moment and Varner is 32 points behind. And a T-38 finish last year at Firestone netted those finishers exactly that. A top-10 finish? That earned a player 71.25 points last year.

Varner has played 27 times this season, making 15 cuts and posting no top 10s. He has five top 25s and his best finish came last fall in the season opener, a T-15 at the Safeway Open.

Two years ago, Varner earned his PGA Tour card for the first time via the Web.com Tour. He finished 75th on the FedEx Cup points list last season as he played in two of the four playoff events.

In addition to Varner’s fun-to-watch and aggressive style of play, his fun-loving personality has been a nice addition to the Tour, as well. He’s done an interview with his driver head cover named “Gerald,” who has his own Twitter account, too. He’s a go-to for good quotes. And last week he had some fun recreating Tiger Woods’ famous shot from the RBC Canadian Open.

Oh, and apparently he’s a good writer, as well. (Check out this piece he wrote for The Players Tribune on Tuesday.)

In that piece, he openly deals with the issues of race and the lack of opportunity for young golfers of all backgrounds to play the game.

“For those same kids to fall in love with golf, they need an opportunity to play like I did,” he writes. “So we want to grow golf — to bring more people into the game? Instead of doing lip service to it, we need to incentivize and help clubs all around the country to start programs similar to the one I participated in at Gastonia … While the PGA Tour has created initiatives — most notably The First Tee (which I’m happy to be involved with) — there’s so much more to be done. I want to be the one leading that charge — not because I look different than 99.9% of other golfers on the PGA Tour, but because I want all kids — rich or poor, white or black — to have the chance to fall in love with the game. I know a bunch of guys on Tour want to do the same.”

And if he has one good week in Akron this week, that game and personality will remain on the big tour.

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