The PGA Tour seemingly just ended a season but it’s time for another go-around starting with the Frys.com Open starting Thursday.
The tour is entering its second season with a wraparound schedule that starts in 2014, ends in 2015, and has a schedule with 47 events. The 2014-15 season includes seven events during the fall of 2014, all of which will award FedExCup points. After a break of seven weeks, play resumes in January with the traditional Hawaii and West Coast swing.
There is not a ton of star power at the event but it doesn’t mean there won’t be good golf or that it’s not important. Just ask Jimmy Walker, the defending champion.
Walker used the Frys.com win last season, his first PGA Tour victory which came in his 188th start, as a springboard as he finished the season with three wins, 10 top-10s, and another six top 20s en route to his first Ryder Cup appearance where he played well as a rookie at Gleneagles.
Walker is back to defend and one player who will look to take his title but who is also just happy to be playing is Australian Jarrod Lyle.
Lyle, 33, has not played a PGA Tour event since the 2012 Mayakoba Golf Classic and left the Tour in March 2012 when he was diagnosed with leukemia. Lyle, who also battled leukemia as a teenager, was awarded a sponsor’s exemption for next week’s Shriners Hospitals for Children Open but was not given one for the Frys and so he had to qualify on Monday.
“I was disappointed not to get an invite, mostly because they didn’t even let me know,” Lyle told the Australian Associated Press. “My wife Briony was pretty devastated but I told her I had a chance to qualify and what a better way to stick it to them.”
Lyle was one of eight players with scores of 66 who went on to a playoff for the four spots available in the qualifier held at Yocha-De-He Golf Club in Brooks, California. Also qualifying were fellow Aussie Matthew Goggin, Eric Axley, and T.J. Vogel. It was an important mini-victory for Lyle and his PGA Tour comeback bid as he has a medical exemption and that gives him 20 events in which to earn $283,825 to retain his playing privileges.
Some other notables in the field this week include Matt Kuchar, who was tied for second on the 2013-14 PGA Tour with 11 top 10s, Brandt Snedeker, Vijay Singh, Hunter Mahan, who won the Barclays nearly two months ago and is coming off playing in the Ryder Cup, and Lee Westwood.