May
25
2010
British Open Qualifier: Get Hot or Go Home
By Stephanie Wei under General

On Monday, a field resembling a mini PGA Tour stop — with the likes of of Rickie Fowler, Ryan Moore, Rory Sabbatini, Davis Love III, Bubba Watson, Boo Weekley and Ricky Barnes — gathered to play in Plano, TX, for no monetary gain.

Yeah, right. Well, no immediate one. 78 pros were vying for eight spots in the American International Final Qualifier to compete at the British Open at St. Andrews in July. But as you can see above, 18 of them didn’t officially finish. Which begs the question, was this just Exhibit 963 to the dossier on why spoiled golfers are a bunch of babies? Or are some players bitter because the R&A only gives Americans 8 spots to keep them out? That’s the word on the tour.

One PGA Tour player, who took part in the qualifier, said quitting wasn’t that bad because “the problem is there are only eight spots open to US PGA Tour players, so if you mess up a little, then you have no chance.” Apparently a British player, who plays on the US tour, told him the R&A does this on purpose — their agenda: Screw the Americans.

If that is indeed true, then is anyone really surprised? The R&A is entitled to set the qualification standards however they want. Plus, Americans have more than enough opportunities to qualify. Some who didn’t earn one of the eight spots on Monday still have a chance to to get in (see numbers 18 and 19).

At first I was irrationally irked to see some pros, including Webb Simpson, Kevin Streelman and Robert Garrigus (who? yeah, exactly), scratched after playing 18 because they would have had to fire a crazy score, like 58, to qualify. I mean, dude, suck it up and finish, it’s a privilege to even get a spot in the qualifier. There was a long list of guys on the alternate list who would have loved to take their place.

Then I heard it was like 93 degrees with 30 mph winds and I could excuse a few for quitting, like Tim Herron. I can’t really blame the guy for being unable to handle 36 holes in those conditions. Plus, he was probably hungry. Or ran out of smokes. And Jeev Milkha Singh has problems with injuries, but still, he had a shot to make it. Even if it was a long one. How about Alex Cejka, who fired a 71, and said, “Oh, screw it!”

Weak. Take Bubba Watson. He posted a 70 in the first 18 and came back with a 65 in the afternoon to score his way into a three-way playoff for the last spot. He lost, but he gave himself a great chance. James Driscoll also deserves a big pat on the back for carding 75-66. Same to Brandt Snedeker who went 71-65. But Scot Martin Laird gets the finest prize for shooting 69-63 to earn his way to St. Andrews, just 15 minutes from where his parents live.

There was another group that apparently had planes to catch and couldn’t be bothered to turn in their scorecards because next to their names was an “NR” — which means they finished their rounds, shot a million, signed their playing partner’s scorecard and bolted for the parking lot.

Oh, so who qualified besides Laird, anyway? The other qualifiers were Tim Petrovic, Bo Van Pelt, D.A. Points, Tom Pernice Jr., Glen Day, George McNeill and Australia’s Cameron Percy, who bested Watson and Charley Hoffman on the third playoff hole.