Halleran/Getty Images Davis Love III has finished in the top 100 on the money list for 26 straight seasons.
By Bill Cooney, PGATOUR.COM
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. — Plenty of pressure exists on the PGA TOUR with only two events remaining this season.
Even for established veterans such as Davis Love III and Jerry Kelly.
Yes, a number of players are looking to retain their playing privileges for the 2013 season and getting into the top 125 on the money list is a priority in order to do so — beginning with this week’s McGladrey Classic.
Take Vaughn Taylor, for example.
Taylor, a two-time winner on TOUR, sits at No. 139 on the money list and needs to make north of $100,000 or head back to Q School in order to qualify for next season. Check out the Money List here.
“There’s a million things going through your head,” Taylor said. “This is your career. It’s your job. It’s the way you pay bills. It’s hard not to think about it. I think every guy out here does.”
But there are also players such as Love and Kelly, both of whom are fighting for high finishes despite the fact that they can fall back on other qualifiers to play next season. So why are these final events such a big deal?
“Pride is a good word,” said Love, a Sea Island resident and tournament host.
Indeed it is. Love, currently 104th and a lifetime member on the TOUR, has made the top 100 on the money list for 26 straight seasons – a streak that stands above the likes of Jack Nicklaus (25), Gary Player (24) and Arnold Palmer (21) for longevity.
“It just means you’re getting older,” Love said. “But I’ve hung in there a long time.”
Love missed the cut at Sea Island and the Children’s Miracle Network Classic last season, but did go T33 and T19, respectively, in both tournaments in 2010. So he’s certainly capable of earning roughly the $100,000 it would take to crack the top 100 again.
Kelly, currently 136th, has a solid streak going as well. He’s had 16 straight seasons without finishing outside the top 125, 15 of which rank in the top 100.
“It’s a different pressure,” said Kelly, who would hate to have to fall back on his career money list exemption. “I’ve never been in this position on the PGA TOUR, period. So I look at it as an opportunity to put that feather in my cap. I’ve been out here for a long time and I know I’m still good enough.”
With Sea Island being more of a shot-makers golf course than a bomber’s paradise, Kelly – No. 1 on the PGA TOUR in driving accuracy and No. 179 in distance, is relishing such an opportunity.
“I don’t want to fall back on anything,” he said.