Bubble Watch

Tour pro just lost his PGA Tour card in the most BRUTAL way possible


Sean M. Haffey

The final event of the PGA Tour season always provides drama. Securing a spot in the top 125 on the FedEx Cup standings can be career changing. If you manage to stay in the top 125 after the Wyndham Championship, you not only lock up your card for next season, but you guarantee a spot in the first playoff event—and the FedEx Cup bonus money that comes with it.

Unfortunately for Austin Smotherman, we can’t remember a player falling outside the top 125 in more brutal fashion than what happened to him on Saturday morning. Smotherman entered Wyndham RIGHT on the bubble, sitting at exactly 125th in the FedEx Cup eligibility standings. Make the cut and the 28-year-old rookie had a great chance to secure a spot in the first playoff event next week at the FedEx St. Jude in Memphis.

Things were looking good for him after an opening-round 65 put him at T-5 entering Friday. Then Friday happened.

A disappointing second round didn’t get any easier for Smotherman with weather delays on Friday afternoon. He was one of just a few players who had to return to Sedgefield Country Club on Saturday morning to finish his second round. He had a 13-foot birdie look on the eighth hole (his 17th) that he had hours and hours to review in his mind. He lipped it out.

No worries, at this point he was still at one under par, and if he just parred his last hole the cut line would remain at one under, and he’d stick around for the entire weekend. Well, after hitting the fairway and having 157 yards at No. 9, he missed the green by 19 yards and wasn’t able to get up and down, instead posting a double bogey.

The tour posted video of the devastating sequence:

Just gut-wrenching stuff for the former SMU golfer. Overnight, the golf-data website Datagolf gave Smotherman a 49.6 percent chance to retain his PGA Tour card. Now his probability of keeping it is 6.7 percent. PGA Tour projections have him dropping to No. 129 on the eligibilty points list just prior to the start of the third round.

Brutal stuff. Smotherman can still try to retain his card with some strong finishes in the Korn Ferry Tour finals, but those aren’t the events he envisioned himself playing when he was in the middle of the fairway on his final hole of his second round.

What’s more, Smotherman also affected the weekend plans of a TON of players. With 64 players in at two under, Smotherman had the chance to move the cut line to two under if he had birdied one of his final two holes. Instead, the cut line stayed at one under for the Wyndham, which means the most players made the cut in a very long time.

Some of the 22 (!) players who were at one under and now are playing the full weekend better send Smotherman a bottle of wine for how much he just helped them out.