It was late Tuesday afternoon at Muirfield Village and The Forecaddie was heading to the parking lot. While passing the range, though, The Man Out Front saw a familiar face – yet not one too familiar to PGA Tour ranges.
Doc Redman was the only player still hitting balls, having only recently arrived after a day’s worth of travel from Stillwater, Okla., where he put the finishing touches on his two-year Clemson career.
Redman is making his pro debut this week at the Memorial Tournament. He has a TaylorMade staff bag and an equipment deal with the company, and was also sporting some freshly-pressed RLX apparel.
While he forfeited his starts in the U.S. Open and British Open, which he had received along with his U.S. Amateur trophy last summer, Redman is slated to compete in the Quicken Loans National in late June. He also is hoping for a few more exemptions this summer, though nothing is finalized.
Redman, of course, isn’t the only collegian making the jump to the pro ranks this summer. Oregon sophomore Norman Xiong announced his intentions to turn professional after the NCAA Championship.
Xiong, who is regarded by many as the top prospect out of this new crop of pros, will make his pro debut at Monday’s U.S. Open sectional qualifier in Memphis, Tenn. Where he will debut on the PGA Tour as a pro is still uncertain, though it will likely come at either the Travelers Championship or Quicken Loans National. (Or the U.S. Open if he qualifies.)
Should Xiong win the Haskins Award, which is announced Thursday, he would earn an exemption into the Greenbrier Classic. Xiong is reportedly waiting on spots in the RBC Canadian Open and Wyndham Championship, as well, but already has invites to play the John Deere Classic in July and Barracuda Championship in August.
The Canyon Lake, Calif., native will move to Las Vegas and has signed deals with Callaway and Travis Mathew, and will be represented by The Legacy Agency and Mike Creasy.
Another player who is likely to receive several PGA Tour sponsor exemptions is Texas grad Doug Ghim. Ghim will turn pro after playing in the U.S. Open, which he qualified for via his U.S. Amateur runner-up finish, and could make his pro debut at the next week’s Travelers Championship, though Ghim is still waiting to hear official word. Ghim will definitely play the John Deere Classic, and the TMOF hears that starts at the Quicken Loans National, Barbasol Championship and RBC Canadian Open are all possibilities, as well.
Once Redman, Xiong and Ghim get all of their Tour invites, there likely won’t be too many more to go around, especially with Joaquin Niemann, Sam Burns and Braden Thornberry (amateur) all making starts this summer via sponsor exemptions.
Nick Hardy, one of two Illinois grads turning pro along with Dylan Meyer, has one of four John Deere exemptions (NCAA individual champ Broc Everett has the fourth) and also will get two starts on the Web.com Tour, at the Rust-Oleum Championship in Ivanhoe, Ill., and the Lincoln Land Championship in Springfield, Ill.
Many other grads will head north to Canada and compete on the Mackenzie Tour, including Vanderbilt’s Theo Humphrey, Arizona’s George Cunningham, North Carolina duo Ben Griffin and Will Register, Duke’s Jake Shuman, Virginia’s Danny Walker, Kent State’s Ian Holt, Oklahoma’s Rylee Reinertson and Lipscomb’s Dawson Armstrong, who turned pro before regionals and has already won a mini-tour event. Everett, Cunningham, Griffin, Register, Walker and Reinertson are playing this week in Vancouver. NCAA individual champion Broc Everett of Augusta is also in the field and making his pro debut.
Armstrong is teeing it up in next week’s FedEx St. Jude Classic along with Thornberry (playing as an amateur) and Oklahoma grad Grant Hirschman.