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PGA Tour Inc.

08/01/2020 | News release | Distributed by Public on 08/01/2020 14:53

Qualifiers for majors, WGCs and THE PLAYERS

There's never a bad time to win a PGA TOUR event, but some victories probably feel like they have a greater impact due to the immediate perks triggered. Michael Thompson is not a stranger to the phenomenon.

Thompson prevailed at the 3M Open on Sunday. It's his second title on TOUR. Concerning the tournaments included on this page, it yields exemptions into this week's World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, next week's PGA Championship and the U.S. Open in September.

When Thompson broke through at The Honda Classic during the first weekend of March of 2013, he gained entry into the following week's then-WGC-Cadillac Championship because he had climbed into the top 50 of the Official World Golf Ranking with the win. Keeping the pedal down, he parlayed the unexpected start into a share of eighth place in the WGC.

The top 50 of the latest OWGR are exempt into the WGC-St. Jude, but there was no turnover inside that bubble, so only Thompson gets in as an automatic qualifier. (The OWGR's strength-of-field rating for the 3M Open was 197.) Because Lee Westwood withdrew after Friday's commitment deadline, the order of alternates remained unchanged as of Thompson's victory. The 35-year-old has made three appearances in the WGC series but none since the 2013 WGC-HSBC Champions.

Because of the complications associated with the pandemic, the WGC-St. Jude expanded its field to 78 this season. After the 63 automatic qualifiers were determined, the remaining 15 slots were filled using the OWGR through July 19. Those in order outside the top 50 were allowed entry. The group begins with Ian Poulter at 53rd and ends with Robert MacIntyre at T76. (Chan Kim also ranked T76, but he remains first alternate as of early on Monday, July 27. In the previous OWGR, Kim was 80th, while MacIntyre was 78th.) Of the eligible, only Thomas Pieters at 73rd declined the invitation.

The 3M Open also served as the finale in the year-long accrual of PGA Championship points. The top 70 in the ranking (that began with the 2019 AT&T Byron Nelson) are now qualified for the PGA Championship. This year's grouping that gets in via this exemption is 24 deep. It includes Hideki Matsuyama (12th), Xander Schauffele (14th), Abraham Ancer (17th) and Kevin Kisner (56th) among its notables.

Finally, the 3M Open was the second in the U.S. Open's unprecedented qualifying series created due to the hiatus and shuffling of schedules in reaction to the pandemic. Thompson and runner-up Adam Long snared the exemptions available to the top two, not otherwise exempt, inside the top 10 at TPC Twin Cities.

UPDATE (July 27): The PGA of America finalized the field for the PGA Championship today. Among the automatic qualifiers, Eddie Pepperell, Lee Westwood and Y.E. Yang have declined to compete. Also, 2018 Ryder Cuppers Alex Noren (115th) and Thorbjørn Olesen (207th) are positioned outside the top 100 in the Official World Golf Ranking and have not been invited.

The first to fill a slot is Joohyung Kim of South Korea. At 94th in the OWGR, he was the only golfer inside the top 100 previously not exempt. He first captured our attention in January when he qualified for the 2020 Open Championship as a 17-year-old with a fourth-place finish at the SMBC Singapore Open. He's since celebrated his 18th birthday. The PGA Championship will mark his PGA TOUR debut.

Charl Schwartzel, who was among the nine who placed T3 at the 3M Open, received a special exemption to return to the PGA Championship. After appearing in 13 consecutive editions, he missed last year's due to a wrist injury.

The other three exemptions were filled by the first three outside the top 70 in PGA Championship points. Doc Redman (73rd) will be making his debut in the tournament. Mark Hubbard (75th) never has qualified for any major until now. Cameron Tringale (79th) has made two of five cuts in the PGA Championship and hasn't qualified since 2016.

The last two spots in the field of 156 at TPC Harding Park are reserved for the winners of this week's World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational and Barracuda Championship. In the field of 78 at the WGC, only Sebastian Soderberg isn't yet eligible for the PGA Championship, so only he can prevent the first alternate, Harold Varner (80th in PGA Championship points), from filling that spot.

If the winner of the Barracuda already is eligible, Troy Merritt (82nd) would complete the field at the PGA Championship. In the field of 132 at the Barracuda, only 10 golfers currently are exempt into the PGA Championship: Branden Grace, Lanto Griffin, Martin Kaymer, Si Woo Kim, Kurt Kitayama, Shaun Micheel, Sebastián Muñoz, Matthias Schwab, Brendan Steele and Vaughn Taylor.

The next three alternates are Talor Gooch (85th), Russell Henley (87th) and Wyndham Clark (89th). Of all five alternates cited in this update, only HV3 isn't committed at the Barracuda as of Monday.

UPDATE (July 29): Thomas Pieters has elected not to compete. Harold Varner III has replaced him as the alternate. Troy Merritt now is first alternate.

UPDATE (July 30): Padraig Harrington and Francesco Molinari withdrew today. Troy Merritt (first alternate) and Talor Gooch (second alternate) have gained entry. Russell Henley now is first alternate.

UPDATE (July 31): Paul Waring has withdrawn. Russell Henley has replaced him as the alternate. Wyndham Clark now is first alternate.

UPDATE (Aug. 1): J.B. Holmes withdrew today. He was replaced by Wyndham Clark. Brian Stuard now is first alternate.

NOTE: Golfers are omitted if they recently haven't competed in majors for which they are eligible (e.g. PGA Championship=David Toms).

SJI = WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational
PGA = PGA Championship
US1 = U.S. Open (First edition of the 2020-21 PGA TOUR season)
MAS1 = Masters (First edition of the 2020-21 PGA TOUR season)

Recent Additions
SJI -- Keegan Bradley; Corey Conners; Joel Dahmen; Max Homa; Mackenzie Hughes; Sung Kang; Jason Kokrak; Tom Lewis; Robert MacIntyre; Phil Mickelson; Shaun Norris; Ian Poulter; Jordan Spieth; Michael Thompson; Bubba Watson; Matthew Wolff
PGA -- Byeong Hun An; Abraham Ancer; Wyndham Clark; Corey Conners; Joel Dahmen; Harris English; Talor Gooch; Adam Hadwin; Brian Harman; Russell Henley; Tom Hoge; Billy Horschel; Mark Hubbard; Mackenzie Hughes; Joohyung Kim; Kevin Kisner; Danny Lee; Adam Long; Hideki Matsuyama; Troy Merritt; Carlos Ortiz; Ryan Palmer; Scott Piercy; Doc Redman; Rory Sabbatini; Xander Schauffele; Charl Schwartzel; Brandt Snedeker; Brendan Steele; Sepp Straka; Kevin Streelman; Michael Thompson; Cameron Tringale; Vaughn Taylor; Harold Varner III
US1 -- Adam Long; Michael Thompson
MAS1 -- none