The field list that day in 2013 in South Florida included the world’s 32nd-ranked player, Welshman Jamie Donaldson, who would earn an automatic spot on the Ryder Cup the following year. It also included another future European Ryder Cupper, Alex Noren, ranked 59th in the world. And another top-100 player, Shane Lowry, who later than year represented Ireland in the World Cup.
Lowry, of course, was still several years away from claiming the 2019 Open Championship, but a couple of his fellow competitors – Lee Janzen and Rich Beem -- already had major titles to their names back then. Now add a few multi-time PGA TOUR winners in Billy Mayfair, Chris DiMarco and Vaughn Taylor, and the field suddenly had serious credentials.
You might not be surprised to learn that it was the week of The Honda Classic, the annual PGA TOUR stop in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
You might be surprised that it was Monday of tournament week.
But really, you shouldn’t be surprised. The Honda Classic has the deepest field of all Monday qualifiers for any PGA TOUR event. It’s the Super Bowl of Monday qualifiers, with more notable names and more high-end resumes than other qualifiers throughout the season.
Perhaps its closest rival are the sectional qualifiers for the U.S. Open, especially the one held near the PGA TOUR event completed the day before, as non-qualified TOUR pros take one last shot at getting into the field. Some of the names that appeared in that sectional qualifier last year in Columbus, Ohio, can be found in this week’s Monday qualifier field at The Honda Classic.
That Monday qualifier in 2013 was indicative of the strength of field, and other Monday qualifiers for The Honda Classic have included the likes of Steve Stricker, Jason Dufner and Ryan Palmer and European starts such as Thomas Levet, Robert Karlsson and Jesper Parnevik.
Year after year, the Monday qualifier has numerous players in the top 100 of the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR), major champions, and multiple PGA TOUR winners. Names you expect to see on Sunday, not Monday.
Take a look at the 2019 Monday qualifier: 24 players with at least one TOUR win; 11 players with more than one; a combined 47 total TOUR wins. Two players had made more than 500 career TOUR starts; three others had more than 400; and 11 had more than 200. From a career earnings standpoint, three players had made more than $20 million; six had made more than $10 million; and 13 made more than $5 million.