The Valspar Championship is set for tomorrow and the buzz around the PGA Tour is that Tiger Woods will make an appearance for the first time in his career. Of course the tournament organizers are thrilled to have Woods in the field because of his star power. However, the field was already strong as players like Rory McIlroy are trying to find their swing before The Masters. Schedules of the top players is designed around Major preparations and why not; winning a Major is the new benchmark for professional golfers.
As I read more about how Woods qualified, I found out something I did not realize existed: the PGA Tour Priority Rankings. “Each PGA TOUR player has earned a position on the priority ranking system that will be used to select tournament fields” says the PGA Tour. And, “Players gain access to an event through a variety of routes. For players who have earned their PGA TOUR card through past achievements or from the Web.com Tour, there is a priority ranking used for each tournament which orders players in terms of accessing the tournament based on the field size. In addition to this ranking, most tournaments have a small number of sponsor exemptions and open qualifying spots which are available each week.”
How I understand it: each tournament field is set by past performances and a professional golfers priority can vary from week to week. In the case of the Valspar Championship, Tiger Woods had a very high priority because he won the Players in the past 5 years (2013). Regardless of how he has played in the past 3 years, he still has a high qualifying priority, so he is in the Valspar Championship.
Personally, I am not fussed by the use of the priority list. It makes sense that the PGA Tour has to have a process for determining the field and this is as good as any. I am sure Valspar is thrilled to have so many top players vying for their trophy. As the event unfolds, I predict that Justin Rose will take home the trophy over Adam Hadwin (last years champion) on Sunday. Also, I see Rory McIlroy finishing in the top 10.
Do you have any musings on the Valspar Championship?
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!