PNC Championship: is it a glimpse of the future stars of golf?

Everyone I play golf with is talking about Tiger Woods playing in the PNC Championship this weekend with his son, Charlie. Of course, social media is very focused on Charlie Woods and comparing him to his dad with videos. The comparison of mannerisms of father and son are cute but it is way to early to assume Charlie will be the next “Tiger Woods.”

It got me thinking about other father/son or “related” golfers on tours. The earliest father/son I can think of is Old Tom and Young Tom Morris in the late 19th century. And, of course, because I live in Greenville, SC Jay and Bill Haas come to mind. But who else? So I googled and found a few lists and there are quite a few sons that followed in their father’s footsteps. Here is a link to the Golf Digest Gallery of “Celebrated Father-son duos.”

It did get me thinking about who are the next generation of golfers that might be on tour in 10 years that have father’s or mother’s that are famous golfers. Charlie Woods is obviously on everyone’s mind but the other two that came to my mind are John Daly, Jr. and Will McGee (Annika Sorenstam’s son). The Dalys are also playing in the PNC Championship this weekend. The Dalys have played before and their best finish was 2nd in 2018. John Daly, Jr. is a freshman at University of Arkansas (his Dad’s alma mater.) Annika Sorenstam’s son, Will, is 10 years old and her husband Mike McGee has been posting some of Will’s US Kids Golf Competition results on twitter sharing that Will won his first USKids Golf tournament in a playoff on Dec 4, 2021. There are other father son teams this year, Henrik Stenson and his son, Karl are notable because Karl, at age 10, is the youngest player in the field.

Anyway, John Daly Jr is 18, Charlie Woods is 12, and Will McGee is 10. Could we see a PGA Tour that has all three son’s competing in the same era? Who knows. They may have no interest in professional golf (although John Daly Jr has said he wants to be on the PGA Tour). And, of course, it is not an easy road to get on tour, let alone be a start on tour, even if you do have the pedigree. One example of how hard it is – Sam Saunders. He made it to the tour but never achieved greatness like his grandfather, Arnold Palmer. Based on his tour record, Saunders would probably not even be known more than as just another journeymen on tour expect for the fact he has a famous grandfather. Saunders still competes on the Korn Ferry Tour but it seems unlikely he will make it back to the PGA tour full-time.

Only time will tell if one of these famous golfers sons will be on tour in the future. One thing is for sure, if you love following golf, It will be interesting to see how the “golf lives” of these young men unfold.

Side Bar: I did try to find female children of golfers of LPGA or PGA Tour to highlight but I couldn’t find any in my searches. If you know any upcoming female golfer with a famous golf parent, leave me a comment.

The “Bubble Boys” of Fall Golf

Average golf fans are not watching golf on TV in the fall.  By average I mean those that love to play golf but only watch professional golf from The Masters through the Fedex Cup playoffs.  However, for an avid fan (which I consider myself to be), the fall is an exciting time in golf because the “fall series” is the last chance for many professional golfers to keep their “jobs” for next year.

Overview of the PGA Tour Fall Series

The fall series is made up of four tournaments (listed below) from October 4 to November 11.  At the end of the fall series the 2012 official money list is final and used to determine status on tour for the following year.

The top 125 on the PGA Tour money list automatically maintain their “card” for the 2013 season.  If a golfer does not make the top 125, then the player is off to Q-School to fight for a place on tour next year.   Think about it for a moment – can you imagine the work you have done all year is not good enough and what you do in the fall determines if you get to keep your current job.  That is what faces many players on the PGA tour and we get to watch it all unfold.

Basically, any player hovering around the 125 position on the money list is not in a comfortable position.  If you are a few spots above 125, you need to play well to stay in your position.  If you are below the 125, you are fighting to crawl your way up and keep you job.

The four tournaments that comprise the “fall series” are:

  1. Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open
  2. The Frys.com Open
  3. Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic

“Bubble Boys” Revealed

The PGA tour is half way through the fall series and each week a new “bubble boy” or player sits in the 125th position.  Before the Justin Timberlake Open, Dave Mathis was the “bubble boy.”  What is his position now?  He is in the 122nd spot.  That’s o.k. but still a bit to close to the 125 cut line for comfort.

As the Frys.com tournament got on the way, Jeff Maggart was in the 125th position.  At the start of the fall series Maggart was at 123.  So he dropped to 125 after the Justin Timberlake Open.  But Maggart had an excellent week at the Frys.com and finished up to position 119.

This week, heading into the McGladrey Classic, Billy Mayfair is the “bubble boy.”  Mayfair has hovered around the 125 position from the start of the fall series (e.g. was 124, then 123 and now 125).  So I would think he is in need of a very good week to get himself a bit more distance from being so close to the cut line.

One of the reasons the fall series is exciting is not just because of the players hovering around the 125 position but also seeing some of the more dramatic moves on the money list.

Dramatic Moves on the Money List

Some of the moves are good and some are bad.  Here are just two examples. John Daly (current position: 141) sliding in the wrong direction and Jason Kokrak (current position: 117) leaping up the money list.

(1) John Daly has been a fan favorite for years but has not always been able to maintain his life on tour (mostly due to his life off tour – let’s just say he knows how to enjoy life but has also had a lot of hard times to over come too).  Daly has played quite well this year and going into the fall series was at 132 on the money list.  If he played well he could perhaps get his card.  Going into the weekend at the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, Daly was doing great shooting 69 and 63 (8 under par going into the weekend).  On Saturday, Daly imploded shooting an 86 (or 15 over par).  He recovered a bit on Sunday but was still 11 over par for the tournament.   He missed the cut at the Frys.com and now sits at 141 on the money list.

(2) Jason Kokrak is a rookie on the PGA tour.  He is not a player most fans know because he is not one of the “star” rookies.  Kokrak ranks 17 out of 25 on the PGA Tour Rookie Rankings list .  Kokrak had an excellent week at the Frys.com finishing in a tie for second place and taking home $440,000 in earnings; and moving him from 167 on the money list to 117.  Let’s hope he plays well at the next two events and keeps his card.

Next stop – The McGladrey Classic

As mentioned above, Billy Mayfair is the “Bubble Boy” this week at the McGladrey Classic.  If you believe past results are a prediction of the future, then Mayfair will not get the bump he needs this week because he finished in 20th at the McGladrey last year.  But I’m sure the motivation to keep your card can inspire players to do great things so Mayfair could surprise everyone and win.  After all, anything can happen in the fall series…that is why it is worth watching.

Why not check out the PGA Tour Money List, pick a player near the 125 position (any player between 120 and 130) and track their progress this week at the McGladrey Classic.  I promise you will be hooked and want to see what happens at the end of the fall series.