The PGA Tour

PGA Tour makes stops in Texas

As is usual, the PGA Tour will make a couple of stops in Texas before the highly coveted Masters Championship gets underway later this month.

The first tournament of the Texas swing was the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio, which was played late last month. It was played at the five-year-old TPC San Antonio.

The two courses of TPC San Antonio, the AT&T Oaks and AT&T Canyons Course, are consistently rated as two of the hardest courses on the PGA Tour by scoring average. Their long distance and brutal winds make birdies a lot harder to come by than most PGA Tour venues.

Texas native Jimmy Walker won the event with a 11-under-par 277. Other notables in the field included 2014 FedEx Cup Champion Billy Horschel, Jason Dufner, Jim Furyk, Harris English and Jimmy Walker. Former Longhorns Jordan Spieth, Justin Leonard, Jhonattan Vegas and Lance Lopez also competed.

Notably, this was be Lopez’ first PGA Tour start. After a successful college career, he has struggled to translate his game to the professional level. That changed when he shot a 6-under 66 at the Monday qualifier to make the field for the tournament. Lopez looked to take advantage of the opportunity to help him gain access to even more PGA tournaments.

Spieth came into the event fresh off of his win at the Valspar Championship in Palm Harbor, Florida two weeks ago. Before the event, he was ranked ninth in the FedEx Cup rankings and was a favorite to win. However, he finished four strokes behind Walker for second place. 

Leonard is the veteran of the Longhorn trio as his 21-year career and 12 PGA Tour wins show. His season has gotten off to a slow start with only one top-10 finish and he has been cut from five of the ten tournaments he has played in.

Next, PGA Tour will head to the Golf Club of Houston for the Shell Houston Open.

The course has traditionally served as a warm-up for the Masters with the golf course set up to emulate many of the same features as Augusta National.

Last year, Matt Jones won the event, which was his first win on the PGA Tour. His 15-under-par total forced him into a playoff with Matt Kuchar whom he would eventually defeat.

Notables in the field include Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia and Jordan Spieth, all of who are ranked in the top-10 in the World Golf Rankings.

Play will get underway on Thursday, April 2. It will be televised on the Golf Channel.

Former Longhorn Jordan Spieth won a three person playoff to win the PGA Tour John Deere Classic Sunday evening. With the win, at 19-years old, Spieth is the youngest player in 80 years to win on the PGA Tour. The last under-20 to win on the PGA Tour was Ralph Guldahl in 1931 who won the Santa Monica Open.

Spieth defeated David Hearn and Zach Johnson with a two-foot putt and finished on-par on the fifth hole of the playoff round. He earned a spot in the Open Championship which will take place next week. 

Sophomore golfer Jordan Spieth’s journey to the PGA Tour hit a roadblock Friday. He failed to advance to the Q-School finals and will not be able to earn his PGA Tour card this year.

Spieth was planning to go professional at the conclusion of the Q-School finals had he earned his PGA Tour card, but he was unable to crack the Top 20 in the four-day second round to advance. The sophomore finished the tournament with a score of 8-under-280, which was good for a tie for 26th place and three strokes shy of what he needed to advance.

Golfers are required to finish in the Top 25 in the Q-School finals in order to join the PGA Tour, with all other finals qualifiers having the opportunity to compete in the Tour. Since he was unable to qualify for the finals, Spieth will have a decision to make regarding his future.

Spieth will have the option to return to Texas for the remainder of the season and attempt to go pro following the NCAA championship, although he could pursue a professional career immediately in a number of different scenarios. He could play overseas, compete in Tour events through Monday qualifiers or participate in PGA events through sponsorship exemptions.

While Spieth has made a decision on his future, he has yet to publicly disclose his intentions.

“I’ve looked at all options everywhere,” Spieth told GolfWeek. “I know what I’m going to do, I’m just not saying anything right now.”

The Longhorns would like to have Spieth return, as he has been their strongest and most consistent player over the past year and a half. Currently the fifth-ranked collegiate golfer, the sophomore earned Big 12 Conference Player of the Year honors in 2011 and was instrumental in leading the

Longhorns golf team to its third national championship.

Should Spieth return to Texas for the remainder of the 2012-13 season, there is a strong chance that he will turn pro at the conclusion of the NCAA championship. Another possible scenario would see him return next season and compete in Q-School again next fall for an opportunity to earn his PGA Tour card.

If Spieth were to turn pro this January, he could compete in PGA Tour events through sponsorship exemptions throughout the season. He would likely have no trouble getting sponsorship exemptions when the PGA Tour comes through Texas, as he has already competed under such circumstances at the Byron Nelson in 2010 and 2011 and at the Texas Open in 2012.

For now, though, Spieth is focused on getting some rest and taking his time in preparing for the future.

“I’m just going to go home now and get some food and get some rest, enjoy Thanksgiving and we’ll see what happens,” Spieth said.

Printed on Tuesday, November 20, 2012 as: Spieth fails to advance, falls short of tour card