As he works his way back from a three-season slump, 11-time PGA Tour winner Jordan Spieth, who’s finished T3, T4, and T13 in his last three starts, won’t be teeing it up this week at the WGC-Workday Championship at the Concession.
Spieth, the former world No. 1 – who in three weeks moved from a career low of 92nd to 61st, did not qualify for the season’s first World Golf Championships due to a world ranking outside of the top 50.
Sounds cut and dry. Right?
There are 20 players in the field with rankings higher than Spieth. Yes, 20! That’s more than 25% of the field.
Admittedly, some of these low-ranked qualifiers snuck in by finishing in the top 30 of last season’s FedExCup standings or the Race to Dubai, which is fine (I guess). But several of these no names – with world rankings outside even the top 150 – qualified by virtue of placing high on the order of merit on some minor league pro golf tour.
The most ridiculous example is Trevor Simsby, the 416th ranked player in the world who qualified by finishing second on the Asian Tour’s order of merit.
Get this, though: Simsby secured that top spot by playing in a single Asian Tour event in 2020: the Bandar Malaysia Open. To make the qualification even more stupid, the tournament wasn’t even a regulation 72 holes. It was reduced to 54 holes due to rain. Simsby, a 27-year old vegabond, won his first professional title in a playoff – at a tournament with a strength of field rating of 16 (for comparison, this week’s WGC is 777).
And it gets sillier. Following that 54-hole Malaysian tournament, the Asian Tour’s 2020 season ended due to covid. And so, by default – as one of only two Asian Tour winners on the shortened season, Simsby locked in a top-2 spot in the order of merit. And with it, punched a ticket into the World Golf Championships.
Even crazier – after his lone start in early March 2020, the American has not teed it up anywhere else in the world for all of 2020 and 2021.
His Official World Golf Rankings file reads a single line for the years of 2020 and 2021: Bandar Malaysia Open, ASA, 10, 2020, 1, 14.00
So, a guy ranked 416th in the world, who has played just 54 holes of golf in the past 14 months, who was never good enough to earn a single start on the PGA Tour, who in a combined 16 career starts on the Korn Ferry Tour missed 13 cuts… you get the gist… This guy gets a spot ahead of three-time major winner Jordan Spieth?