PALM HARBOR, Fla. – In an ultimate game of musical chairs, the field for this week’s Valspar Championship was turned upside down following Sunday’s final round at the Puerto Rico Open.
According to PGA Tour regulations, a top-10 finish assures a player a spot in the next “open tournament” field if they were not already playing the event. So when 11 players punched their tickets to Innisbrook via their finish in Puerto Rico, it created a cascading makeover of the Valspar field.
In short, guys who were not in the field knocked out guys who had been. It went something like this:
Emiliano Grillo (who tied for second place in Puerto Rico) knocked out Andrew Putnam; Tim Petrovic (T-2) in, Jim Herman out; Will Wilcox (T-6) in, Fabian Gomez out; Scott Pinkney (T-6) in, Max Homa out; Rod Pampling (T-10) in, David Lingmerth out; John Daly (T-10) in, Chad Collins out; Rafael Cabrera Bello (T-10) in, Blayne Barber out; and Chris Smith (T-10) in, Steve Wheatcroft out.
Sam Saunders also finished tied for second in Puerto Rico and knocked J.J. Henry off the Valspar tee sheet, but Henry received Saunders’ sponsor exemption to play Innisbrook.
Daly’s sponsor exemption, which he didn’t need after his first top-10 finish on Tour since 2012, went to Trevor Immelman, and the last sponsor exemption went to Homa.
In unrelated news, four players who participated in last week’s WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral – Bernd Wiesberger, Greg Chalmers, David Lipsky and Marc Warren – made the trip across Alligator Alley late Sunday to play in Monday’s qualifier.