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Why Charles Howell III is set to give us the most surprising missed cut of the PGA Tour season

January 29, 2021

Hector Vivas

Torrey Pines’ South Course produced a lot more low scores on Thursday than what’s expected when the world’s best golfers return there in June for the U.S. Open, but the carnage the San Diego track did cause during the opening round of the 2021 Farmers Insurance Open was still pretty noteworthy.

First, Matthew Wolff, the most bet golfer heading into the tournament, shot 78 then withdrew with a hand injury. Then there’s Harris English, fresh off a win in Hawaii and one of the planet’s hottest golfers, who shot 79. And finally, the most surprising result? Charles Howell III.

The three-time PGA Tour winner has never hoisted a trophy at Torrey Pines, but his arms have gotten sore from lifting big checks. Entering this week, Howell had played in this event 17 times and made the cut on every occasion.

And he’s put in work on the weekends as well. Of those 17 starts, Howell has recorded 12 top-25s and eight top-10s, including three runners-up. Add it all up and he’s made more than $2.8 million in just this event, a remarkable figure considering he’s never won.

But it doesn’t look like he’ll be adding to that total after an opening 80 leaves him in need of a miraculous second round to make the cut. Yep, there a lot of fantasy golf players who did not see that one coming.

Of course, Howell has a reputation as one of the tour’s great earners. He’s earned at least $1 million in 20 consecutive seasons, only trailing Phil Mickelson’s record of 25, and he treats certain tournaments like their his own personal ATMs.

So, yeah, his family will be OK if he doesn’t earn a check this week. Besides, he’s got another one of his favorite stomping grounds, Riviera, in a couple weeks.

UPDATE: Howell made a valiant effort on Friday, firing a five-under 67 North Course. But it wasn't nearly enough as he missed the cut by four shots.