Player Profiles

One Wild Ride

Life on the tour is about to get really interesting

September 2013 Players

JUMP UP: These guys can earn a tour card through the new playoff system.

The tour goes by nicknames like the Go-Low Tour and the Bombers' Tour: It's aggressive golf played by the guys who are just a lob shot away from earning a PGA Tour card. And it's about to get more competitive. The top-25 players on the money list at the conclusion of the Cox Classic on Aug. 25 will earn PGA Tour cards for next season. Michael Putnam was the leader at the end of June with $386,634. The top 25 will be joined by another 25 players who earn their way onto the big tour through a new four-tournament playoff culminating with the Tour Championship Sept. 26-29 on Dye's Valley Course in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. This playoff takes the place of the tour's annual qualifying tournament, which will now be used as a gateway to playing on the Tour. The playoffs can be seen on Golf Channel. Here are four players to watch.

Chesson Hadley


FROM: Raleigh, N.C.

BIO: Hadley, 26, is a former All-American at Georgia Tech. He had a win and a second-, third- and sixth-place finish in a five- tournament stretch this year.

'When you watch PGA Tour events, you see guys you know. It's like, "Man, I played college golf against him. I beat him like a drum." That tells you you're very close to getting to the next level.'

Bhavik Patel


FROM: Bakersfield, Calif.

BIO: Patel, 22, won the 2011 California State Amateur and the 2012 Southern California Amateur, and then made it through four stages of qualifying to earn his Tour card in 2012. The California native's parents were born in India.

'It's like a college dorm or a fraternity out here. But make no mistake: This is big-boy golf. Everyone can flat-out play.'

Hudson Swafford


FROM: Lakeland, Fla.

BIO: Swafford, 25, was teammates with PGA Tour winners Russell Henley and Harris English at the University of Georgia. He won the 2012 Stadion Classic on the Tour and missed earning a PGA Tour card by about $2,700 last year.

'Every dollar counts out here. A lot of people don't see this aspect of being a tour pro—living out of your suitcase, driving to events, sharing hotel rooms. I haven't been home since the second week of May because you can't afford to miss an event if you want to get into the top 25 on the money list.'

Meen-Whee Kim


FROM: Seoul, South Korea

BIO: Kim, 21, was the gold medalist at the 2010 Asian Games in China. He also defeated Kevin Na in a playoff to win the 2012 Shinhan Donghae Open in Korea and was the rookie of the year on the Korean Tour.

'How good is this tour? I thought it would be similar to the Asian Tour or European Tour, but on this tour, the players are playing at a higher level. You have to work even harder, but I know that it's making me better.'

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