ZIMBABWE’S leading professional golfer Brendon de Jong is in danger of losing his playing privileges on the US PGA Tour for the first time in seven years starting next season after missing out on the ongoing money-spinning FedEx Cup playoffs. BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
The 36-year-old Harare-born golfer missed last month’s Olympic Games in a bid to keep his full playing privileges for next year, but the move was in vain after missing the cut at the Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club in North Carolina two weeks ago.
The missed cut at the Wyndham Championship — his 18th in 19 starts this year — saw de Jonge, who earned $415,583 this season compared to the $1,594,935 he amassed last season, plunging to position 156 in the FedEx Cup standings.
With only the top 125 golfers sealing their spots into the FedEx Cup playoffs and keeping their full playing cards for the next season, de Jonge temporarily lost his PGA Tour playing privileges, leaving Zimbabwe in danger of not being represented on the US PGA Tour for the first time since 2009.
The former Wingate Golf Club junior, however, has another opportunity of retaining his place on the PGA Tour in the Web.com Tour Finals where 25 players will earn their PGA Tour cards.
The Web.com Tour is the top developmental tour for the PGA Tour in men’s golf.
De Jonge will line up in the field for the Web.com Tour Finals which comprises the top 75 players on the Web.com Tour regular season money list and the players who finished numbers 126 to 200 on the on the PGA Tour regular season FedEx Cup standings.
The four finals events each have $1 million purses, beginning next week with the DAP Championship at Canterbury Golf Club in Cleveland, Ohio, and concluding with the Web.com Tour Championship from Oct. 6-9 at Atlantic Beach Country Club in Atlantic Beach, Florida.
De Jonge has been Zimbabwe’s flag bearer on the US PGA Tour since the retirement of the legendary trio of former world number one and World Golf Hall of Famer Nick Price, Mark McNulty and Tony Johnstone.
But after nine successful seasons in which he earned a whopping $11 385 581, de Jonge is in danger of losing his place among the world’s best golfers after a disappointing season.
A former student at Virginia Tech University, where he graduated with a degree in Consumer Studies in 2003, de Jonge played on the Nationwide Tour (now the Web.com Tour) from 2004 to 2006 and 2008.
He first earned his PGA Tour card 2007 but immediately lost it after that season after finishing 155th on the money list.
In 2008 he finished second on the Nationwide Tour money list after winning the Xerox Classic and recording a runner up finish and three third-place finishes.
His performances not only earned him back his 2009 PGA Tour card, but also saw him being named the 2008 Nationwide Tour Player of the Year.
De Jonge finished 139th on the money list in 2009, which initially gave him conditional status for 2010 where he went on to enjoy his most successful year to date, with seven top 10 finishes taking him to 34th on the money list.