DP World Tour
Eddie Pepperell roasts sponsor exemption with ties to Michael Jordan for barely breaking 90 at Dubai Invitational
Rory McIlroy opened his 2024 campaign with a 62 that has him leading the Dubai Invitational, but it's a name all the way at the bottom of the leaderboard that has people talking as well.
That would be Ken Weyand, whose first-round 87 at Dubai Creek Resort left him 25 shots off McIlroy's pace and in dead last. By 10 strokes.
So who is Ken Weyand? That's what many were wondering following his tough 87. And two-time DP World Tour winner Eddie Pepperell was among those not pleased with the 54-year-old getting a sponsor exemption into the limited-field event.
Ouch. Well, it turns out Weyand is the director of golf at Grove XXIII, Michael Jordan's exclusive private club in Jupiter, Fla. (Good luck to Eddie ever getting an invite there!) If you zoom out on the above photo, you can see his light-blue golf bag with the club's cat logo all the way on the left side:
Weyand has never previously competed in an event with Official World Golf Ranking points on the line. And his inclusion is especially curious given his relative lack of a tournament resume from the PGA South Florida Section website:
Tournaments with sponsor exemption spots are allowed to invite whomever they want. This is an "Invitational," after all. But often those spots go to a young up-and-comer (Like the Sony Open with Hideki Matsuyama in 2012), a local star, or a celebrity. Ken Weyand—unlike Barbie's Ken—is none of those.
In case you're wondering, Weyand was paired with Richard Mansell on Thursday—and the English pro shot a one-under-par 70. So extra kudos to him.
Given this is a no-cut event, Weyand will play three more rounds in Dubai this week. And given how Day 1 went, we're guessing this won't be the last his presence there will be talked about.