Top 100 in world make US PGA field
LOUISVILLE, Kentucky (AP) — The top 100 men in the world ranking are in the 156-man field for the U.S. PGA Championship at Valhalla next week.
The field was announced on Tuesday, and included those who qualified on U.S. PGA Tour money earned in the past 12 months, and what the event refers to as “special invitations.” Translation: Anyone ranked in the top 100 on the world.
One of the special invitations went to Kevin Chappell, who is No. 104 in the world.
The highest-ranked player not currently in the U.S. PGA Championship field is Jerry Kelly at No. 109. Kelly is the first alternate and most likely to get in because the U.S. PGA sets aside two spots for winners of the Bridgestone Invitational and Barracuda Championship in Reno, Nevada, if they are not already eligible. Pat Perez is the second alternate.
There were a few mysteries in the special invitations.
Stewart Cink received one of the spots, even though he is No. 149 in the world and was 21 spots behind Kelly in the U.S. PGA points list. Another invitation went to Robert Karlsson of Sweden, who is No. 115 in the world but has been making a rapid climb in the world ranking this year. Karlsson was outside the top 200 just over a month ago.
Of the 41 players who received special invitations, Cink, Chappell and David Hearn of Canada were the only ones who play exclusively on the U.S. PGA Tour. The other two Americans who received invitations are on the Champions Tour — U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson and Kenny Perry, who grew up in Kentucky and lost in a playoff at Valhalla in the 1996 U.S. PGA Championship.