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Why PGA Tour pros might want to think twice about winning the Puerto Rico Open

February 18, 2020

Jared C. Tilton

It's no secret that PGA Tour pros would rather be playing in this week's WGC-Mexico Championship than the Puerto Rico Open. The former is a no-cut event offering free ranking points and a purse nearly four times the size. What will surprise you, though, is that tour pros in Puerto Rico might be better off not winning.

Golf Channel's Will Gray noticed a pretty wild trend among winners of the opposite-field event at Coco Beach Golf Club in its 11-year existence. Instead of a victory being a stepping stone to more tour titles, the exact opposite has happened.

Perhaps, we've finally found the reason for Tony Finau being stuck on one career PGA Tour win: The Curse of Coco Beach.

Adding to this strange stat is fellow Golf Channel writer Ryan Lavner's list of golfers who came close to claiming the event.

Little did that threesome, which has since combined to win 28 PGA Tour titles, realize how much better it was to finish runner-up.

Of course, we kid. We think. This week's winner will earn a check for $540,000 after all. And yes, most of the tournament's winners have been journeymen like two-time champ Michael Bradley, George McNeill, and Alex Cejka. Oh, and Scott Brown, who CBS' Dottie Pepper infamously forgot had won anywhere during a 2017 interview.

Also, while the winners of this even never win anywhere else, it's not like they never play well. Finau has been in the top 10 of the Official World Golf Ranking and played in the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup the past two years. Brown is coming off a T-2 at Riviera on Sunday. And last year's winner at Coco Beach, Martin Trainer, um. . . wow. . . well, he just made his first cut in (gulp) 22 events. OK, on second thought, you're definitely better off finishing runner-up this week.