3 Key Points
- Earning a place among golf’s elite on the PGA Tour requires exceptional play, as demonstrated by Eric Cole and Adam Schenk.
- Justin Thomas addresses the disparities between top players and the rest, emphasizing hard work over grievances.
- The upcoming PGA Tour season highlights the financial and ranking disparities between signature events and standard tournaments.
Overview of PGA Tour’s Dual Structure
As the PGA Tour gears up for the upcoming season, a notable dichotomy has emerged. A select group of elite players compete in the lucrative signature events, vying for substantial FedExCup points and a share of a $20 million purse. Meanwhile, their peers partake in tournaments with an average prize fund of $8.5 million, facing the challenge of solidifying their status within the competitive arena.
The Meritocracy of Golf
Yet, the path to golf’s upper echelon is open to all through meritocratic means. Justin Thomas offers his perspective on the matter, questioning why some would gripe about disparities rather than draw motivation from the success stories of the industrious Eric Cole and Adam Schenk.
Underdogs Making Their Mark
Cole’s perseverance through a decade in mini-tours culminated in a breakout rookie season, catapulting him to No. 43 in the FedExCup and securing his entry into all major events next year—including his first Masters. Schenk, too, defied expectations, climbing from an average position of 103rd in the FedExCup over five seasons to participating in the Tour Championship and earning his spot in the majors.
Rising Without Victories
Their ascents are noteworthy—Cole and Schenk have soared into the world’s top 50 without clinching tournament victories, testament to their consistent performance.
Justin Thomas Reflects on Challenges
Contrastingly, Thomas reflects on a year that saw him miss out on the FedExCup postseason for the first time, though he notes potential sponsor exemptions as a fallback. He advocates for recognizing opportunities over critiquing the system.
Opportunity and Hard Work in Golf
Thomas highlights the underdog stories as exemplars of the golfing creed—hard work yields reward, regardless of previous accolades. As he succinctly puts it, “Golf is a funky game,” and the journey to success is neither direct nor exclusive. The experiences of Cole, Schenk, and even Thomas serve as reminders that in the world of professional golf, opportunity and effort go hand-in-hand.