Monday Musings: July 12, 2021
The weekly dive into all the Monday action
PGA Tour Monday Qualifier: Richmond, Kentucky
- Our first Monday qualifier is Trey Shirley who was a star basketball player in high school before he was diagnosed with transverse myelitis, an infection that affects the spinal cord. According to mayoclinic.org, it interrupts the messages that the spinal cord nerves send throughout the body. It can result in many things including paralysis, like it did for Shirley. After a long treatment and recovery process, he was able to head to Campbellsville University in Kentucky, where he played both golf and basketball. He has gone from being paralyzed at 18 to his first Tour event at 31. As I always say, this is what Mondays are for. Shirley is seven years into his pro career, has only one KFT start, but no matter what happens he will always be able to say he played on the PGA Tour. Pretty awesome.
- Billy Tom Sargent, who missed by one today, reached out to let me know that he beat Shirley and his partner in a big scramble last night. Sargent’s partner chipped in on the second playoff hole to beat Shirley.
- In 2018 Shirley shot a closing round 62, including birdies on the last two holes, to come from five back to win the Kentucky Open.
- Live Scoring!! Live Freaking Scoring!! Shoutout to @golfhouseKY for doing live scoring at the Monday qualifier. There were a few groups that didn’t enter scores manually on their phone, but most did and I hope one day it’s the standard at every Monday qualifier.
- ·Speaking of Golf House KY, they just do an awesome job of running this Monday qualifier. Preview articles, live scoring, pictures, videos, and sending me updates. Awesome stuff.
- Scott Gutschewski will play his second Tour event since 2011. He has 112 career starts on Tour but lost his card in 2011 and only played one event (2018 Wells Fargo) since then. He is currently 54th in KFT points but took a shot at a Tour Monday qualifier and it paid off. He made 10 birdies and two bogeys on his way to a 64. His son Luke has committed to play golf for Iowa State in the fall.
- Speaking of his son Luke, that is the only reason Gutschewski was in the Monday qualifier this week. His son qualified for the Junior PGA, which is being played in Lexington, Kentucky. Scott had planned to come to Lexington to watch his son play a little on Monday and a little on Tuesday before heading to Springfield for the Korn Ferry event. He ultimately decided to try the Monday qualifier and…surprise…he got through.
- Bobby Bai was out in the first group and it paid off. He fired a 64 and will play in his first full-field Tour event. He played in a WGC in 2020.
- David Gazzolo has been playing the Golden State Tour for the past two years and hasn’t had a start on any of the PGA sanctioned tours.
- Opposite-field events give great opportunities for players that you may not have heard of at the Monday qualifer. This year proves that. Take Gutschewski out of the mix and the three other players combined have three PGA Tour starts.
- My dog Kenny Knox sleeps by my feet under my desk while I write this and I love it. The kids and wife are asleep, and it is so peaceful.
- I love Scott Gutschewski, but he was one of the last scores in (he was in one of the groups that didn’t do live scoring) and his 64 prevented a 10-for-one playoff.
- ·The Golf House KY was going to live stream the playoff, a treat we don’t get often, and for the second year in a row here there was no playoff. Dammit.
- ·Among the players who would have been in the potential playoff were Hayden Springer, Justin Suh, Tain Lee and Chase Koepka. It really would have been some great drama with some of the bigger Monday Q names. Dammit again.
- ·While we are talking about Tain Lee, he made 9 birdies, which on a Monday is usually good enough, but unfortunately had three bogeys that cost him a spot in the Shaving Cream Open.
- If you are a player at a Monday (or anywhere for that matter), treat the staff on-site with respect. Ninety-nine percent of players are great but 1% at times are a loud bunch. And it always seems to be some of the same players.
- I miss when exemptions were based on a good story or merit and not on how much someone is willing to pay. It stinks and the system is broken when that happens. (As I have stated many times, I don’t blame the players in these cases. I would take the start no matter how it came.) Tain Lee needs a decent week to change his life and he can’t get a sponsor’s exemption. It seems wrong.
KFT Tour Monday Qualifier: Springfield, Illinois
- Mondays are made for stories like Kyle Weldon’s. Kyle has financially supported his own career his entire five years as a pro. This means a lot of long days as a caddie in Arizona or St. Louis, depending on the season. In the seven months leading up to June, Weldon looped 164 rounds in Arizona. He then started playing a few select events near St. Louis, where he lives with his parents during the summer. He still caddies when he can at St. Louis Country Club to make extra cash. He wakes up most mornings at 5 a.m. to get to his workout by 6, then heads to caddie and after fits in some time for practice. He has done that for basically five years. It takes a special dedication to continue to chase his dream while working a full-time job and struggling to make ends meet. “I haven’t gone to Q school every year, since I support myself,” he says.”It’s just too expensive.” Once you Monday in, the real expenses start: Hotel for the week, caddie, meals, etc. Miss the cut and it eats away quickly at the caddie money.
- ·Watch out for Peyton White this week. In KFT events after he has Monday’d in, Peyton has finished T22 and T15. He could be a threat this week.
- ·Ted Smith is a legend on the Moonlight Tour in Florida. It’s basically an organized money game but one of my favorite mini-tours. There are sometimes fields with only 15 players, but often three or four of them are former longtime Tour members. Chris Couch, Patrick Sheehan and Brian Davis are just a few of the names. Smith has more than 50 wins on the Tour.
- ·George Kneiser Monday qualified for the first time one year ago. He had played exactly one round as a professional at the time. Now a year later he will get his second career KFT start.
- ·Scott Stevens has had some Monday Q success with a T17 earlier this year, followed up with a T26 and a T62. This will make his fifth career KFT start. Scott also has some of the best hair in the game. Laz put together some amazing pics. This guy is a star.
- ·I wish there was a solution to the high practice-round prices. This week one of the courses was charging $83 for a practice round and bad weather closed the range on Sunday. With the range closed, the players only option was to play.
- ·One of the Monday Q courses was almost two hours away from the KFT event. That isn’t great for the four players who got through.
- Stephen Lewton has had some bad luck on Mondays. In Vegas he was on the range getting ready for a playoff when the last player (literally the last player) to turn in his card knocked him out. This week he made nine birdies, but a double bogey on a very reachable par 5 pushed him into a seven-for-two playoff, where he lost.
- Mondays can just be brutal and there is no better example of that than Travis Smyth and Alex Scott. Since March, Alex Scott has missed by one twice and lost in playoffs twice (one PGA Tour, one KFT). His average score at Mondays since then is 66.43 and he doesn’t have a made cut to show for it.
- I saw Travis Smyth at the KFT event in Chicago, where he lost in a playoff. After he lost I was walking by him and patted him on the shoulder. He said, “I fucking hate Mondays. I don’t know how people do them.” Yesterday another great ground…and he missed by one again. They really can be brutal and hammer the confidence but you have to keep pushing.
The growth of golf has been great, so don’t get me wrong. It’s great to see the game gain in popularity. That being said, developmental tours (and Mondays) are really struggling to find courses to play. And when they do find them, the courses are charging higher prices per player. Therefore, the purse suffers and the players suffer. Courses used to fill their slower times with mini-tours, but now with the explosion of the game, they can get full-price green fees during that time. It leaves the tours and more importantly the players out of luck in a lot of respects.