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HOW THEY QUALIFIED Winner – PGA/U.S. Open Championship Dustin Johnson Winner – The Players Championship Matt Kuchar Winner – The Masters Bubba Watson Winner – British Open Ernie Els Winner – World Golf Championship Event Shane Lowry Winners of the Arnold Palmer Inv. & the Memorial (Last 3 Years) Matt Every David Lingmerth William McGirt Winner – FedEx Cup – Last Five Seasons Brandt Snedeker Tournament Winner in Past Two Seasons Keegan BradleyÂ Alex CejkaÂ Greg ChalmersÂ Kevin ChappellÂ Tony FinauÂ Jim FurykÂ Cody GribbleÂ Adam Hadwin James HahnÂ J.J. HenryÂ Jim HermanÂ Charley HoffmanÂ J.B. HolmesÂ Mackenzie HughesÂ Billy Hurley IIIÂ Smylie KaufmanÂ Chris KirkÂ Danny LeeÂ Hunter MahanÂ Peter Malnati Ben MartinÂ Graeme McDowellÂ Troy MerrittÂ Scott PiercyÂ D.A. PointsÂ Cameron SmithÂ Brian StuardÂ Hudson SwaffordÂ Vaughn Taylor Nick Taylor Jhonattan Vegas Career Money Exemption Stewart Cink Â Geoff OgilvyÂ Carl Pettersson Sponsors Exemptions – Members not otherwise exempt Mike WeirÂ Steve Wheatcroft Sponsors Exemptions – Unrestricted Hugo BernardÂ Wyndham ClarkÂ Jared du ToitÂ Matt Hill Sam HorsfieldÂ Austin JamesÂ Curtis LuckÂ Bryn ParryÂ Garrett RankÂ Andres RomeroÂ Ryan RuffelsÂ Camilo Villegas Life Member Vijay Singh Top 125 on Prior Season’s FedEx Cup Points List Gary WoodlandÂ Roberto Castro Sean O’HairÂ Jason Kokrak Ryan PalmerÂ Harris EnglishÂ David Hearn Kyle ReifersÂ Daniel SummerhaysÂ Ricky BarnesÂ Chad CampbellÂ Patrick RodgersÂ Harold Varner III Johnson WagnerÂ Scott BrownÂ Chez ReavieÂ Bryce MolderÂ K.J. ChoiÂ Spencer LevinÂ John HuhÂ Sung KangÂ Jason BohnÂ Tyrone Van AswegenÂ Derek FathauerÂ Blayne Barber Brett StegmaierÂ Robert GarrigusÂ Zac BlairÂ Cameron Tringale Andrew LoupeÂ Boo WeekleyÂ Mark HubbardÂ Ben CraneÂ Michael KimÂ Anirban LahiriÂ Graham DeLaetÂ Luke ListÂ Shawn StefaniÂ Seung-Yul Noh Top 125 on Prior Season’s Official Money List thru Wyndham Ken DukeÂ Retief GoosenÂ Chad CollinsÂ Morgan Hoffmann Major Medical Extension Nick WatneyÂ Ian PoulterÂ Brian GayÂ Patrick CantlayÂ Bob EstesÂ Ryo IshikawaÂ Charlie Beljan Leading Money Winner from Web.com Tour & Web.com Tour Finals Grayson Murray Top Finishers from Web.com Tour Prior Season (reordered) Kelly KraftÂ Kevin TwayÂ Ollie SchniederjansÂ Whee KimÂ Cheng Tsung PanÂ J.J. Spaun Dominic BozzelliÂ Ryan Blaum Scott StallingsÂ Trey Mullinax J.T. PostonÂ Brandon HagyÂ Cameron PercyÂ Seamus PowerÂ Sebastian MunozÂ Jonathan RandolphÂ Rick LambÂ Martin FloresÂ Rory SabbatiniÂ Richy Werenski Julian EtulainÂ Tim WilkinsonÂ Ryan BrehmÂ Andres GonzalesÂ Brian CampbellÂ Joel DahmenÂ Will MacKenzieÂ Tag RidingsÂ Gonzalo Fdez-CastanoÂ Mark AndersonÂ Nicholas LindheimÂ Steven AlkerÂ Ryan ArmourÂ Brett DrewittÂ Miguel Angel CarballoÂ Brad FritschÂ Bobby Wyatt
SOUTHPORT, England â€“ Umbrella futures were on the rise Friday, and thereâ€™s no doubt that the quarterly earnings of raingear companies received a bump. Royal Birkdale was hit with proper Open Championship weather in the second round, leaving caddies with sore backs from the heavier luggage they had to lug around the links. The rain required them to not only carry extra clothing, but simultaneously balance a towel, umbrella, yardage book and whatever else their boss needed to keep dry. The weather was reminiscent of what we saw in the past two Open Championships here along Englandâ€™s Lancashire Coast, as weather from the Irish Sea tormented the worldâ€™s best. No one has finished under-par in either of the past two Opens held at Royal Birkdale, and that was thanks in large part to high winds and rain. The field had to deal with both Friday, and often at the same time, sending the scoring average up more than two strokes. The field averaged 71.9 on Thursday, but that rose to 74.0 in Fridayâ€™s inclement weather. Rain is always a nuisance, while wind can at least occasionally be an aid. Not on this day, though. The winds came from the southeast, blowing across many fairways and often into the players. â€œThe way it is out there now, it’s not much fun,â€� said Charl Schwartzel, whose 78 was 12 strokes higher than his first round. He teed off at 9:47 a.m., and was likely one of the players Jordan Spieth was watching as he awaited his tee time five hours later. Kevin Na, who fired 75 after a first-round 68, called it, â€œa good day to sit at home and watch a movie.â€� Most players opted for to watch the golf instead. One of the advantages players have at The Open Championship is that they can procure plenty of intelligence from tuning into the television broadcast before their afternoon tee time. Since all players tee off from No. 1, thereâ€™s nearly 10 hours between the first and last â€œgames,â€� as theyâ€™re called at The Open. Spieth, known for a golf intelligence that matches his passion for the game, was among those players who tuned in. â€œI would have gladly stayed on the couch,â€� he said. â€œIt was tough watching. It wasn’t a great feeling knowing we were coming into something harder than what we were watching.â€� Adam Scott, who teed off at 8:25 Friday morning, also watched the telecast, though for a different reason. With his day done by the early afternoon, he didnâ€™t need to do any studying. He just wanted to commiserate with colleagues who struggled with the conditions. â€œI don’t normally tune in, but hopefully watching will make myself feel a little better,â€� he said after shooting 74 on Friday. He sits at 3-over 143 (69-74). The morning half of the draw had to deal with high winds. How windy was it? Rory McIlroy and Matt Kuchar both used 5-irons on the 162-yard 12th hole. McIlroy came up short. Kuchar watched the wind blow his shot 30 yards, from a mound left of the green toward the middle of the putting surface. The rain came later, falling hardest at about 4 p.m. A rain delay is about as rare as a tree at an Open Championship, because of how quickly a links course can drain, but play was stopped for a half-hour due to water pooling on the greens. The afternoon half of the field actually had an average score that was 0.8 strokes lower than the morning starters (73.6 to 74.4), but rain can be more of a hassle because of the extra work it requires to stay dry.Precipitation also produces dramatic visuals as players scurry for cover, wipe off their grips and turn hats backwards to keep water from dripping on their golf ball. The reality is, though, that the wind settled down at times as the rains arrived. Spieth said that taking advantage of the (relatively) calm periods was key to Fridayâ€™s 69, which puts him at 6-under 134 (65-69) and in the lead. Fridayâ€™s weather undoubtedly pleased those fans who wake up early to watch players struggle through â€œOpen weather.â€� The funny thing is that the weather didnâ€™t deter the gallery members on the grounds, either. Tommy Fleetwood, who grew up a few minutes from Royal Birkdale, was surprised by the number of fans who followed him through the worst of the weather. He shot 69 on Friday just to make the cut. â€œThereâ€™s no way people should be out on that golf course right now supporting anyone,â€� he said. Even the beloved local son. The scoring at Open Championships is heavily dependent on Mother Nature, as centuries-old links courses often lack defenses against modern technology. The conditions didnâ€™t just make it difficult for the players. Rich Beem, winner of the 2001 PGA Championship, was known for a carefree attitude during his playing days. He now serves as an on-course commentator for Sky Sports, and when gallery member asked if he was enjoying following the leader, he couldnâ€™t fake it. â€œThe fun factor left long ago,â€� he said sarcastically. The constant crackle of rain drops hitting waterproof material was a quiet undertone as Spieth finished Fridayâ€™s 69, which was one of just eight under-par scores shot Friday. He will take a two-shot lead over Kuchar into the weekend. Spieth is pleased, of course, to be in the lead as he pursues the third leg of the career Grand Slam. That wasnâ€™t what made him happiest as he sat in the interview room Friday afternoon. â€œRight now, I’m happy to be inside, first and foremost,â€� he said. He wasnâ€™t the only one.
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