Today was a real bad day for a number of professional golfers. They missed the cut in the Web.com Tour Championship and with it, their dreams of playing on the PGA Tour next year. Some of the more familiar names included: Hunter Haas, Matthew Goggin, Spencer Levin, Chris DiMarco, Ricky Barnes, Len Mattiace, Vaughn Taylor, Scott McCarron, Alex Cejka, Brandt Jobe and Cameron Beckman.
Some of them may still have access to the Tour through one of the Tour’s many tertiary exemptions or sponsors exemptions because of their names or connection to particular tournaments. But the one exemption they won’t have is the king of them all, a PGA Tour card.
For some it will be the end. For others being a professional golfer is who they are. There is some cachet associated with former players that allows them to do outings or appearances. There may be a way to become affiliated with golf products, projects or courses. Something. But it won’t be flying out Monday for the Tuesday practice round and Wednesday pro-am.
There is the possibility of playing the Web.com Tour for another year. But the holy grail is ending up in the top 25 at the end of the year to earn an automatic PGA Tour card. The problem with this is that the Web.com Tour is largely populated with young, fearless bombers playing on relatively short courses. It also has much smaller purses than the PGA Tour — it is a developmental tour — so you have to play a lot of tournaments to keep up with the cash count. And you have to stay healthy.
If it’s to be the end for those who missed the cut today, at least they went down swinging. At least they were trying to get the ball in the hole for that one last chance to live the dream. They faced their golf mortality and stepped into the breach. They went for it until they signed that last scorecard that wasn’t enough. And they tasted the bitterness of defeat and disappointment of the shots they’d like to have back once again.
But that’s mostly what golf is, the philosophical ones tell us. Winning is so rare, you have to find a way to live with the losing. To do the best you can and hope it’s enough this week. To look forward to trying to find the best in yourself again next week.
But when they can’t, at least they know they went down swinging. And at least they died with their boots on.