Sony qualifying is pro golf's ultimate gamble


HONOLULU - Professional golf ain't easy.

I'm not talking about the physical act of getting a ball into a hole in fewer strokes than other competitors - though obviously that isn't a skill without merit.

In this case, I'm referring to the arduous journey of just trying to make it to the big leagues. Even if it's just for two days and far, far away.

There aren't more annual events which exemplify this better than Monday qualifying for the Sony Open. 

Granted, such 18-hole qualifiers exist every single week on the PGA Tour, but no others involve traversing an ocean just to get a chance - and a very small one at that - to compete against the world's best.

Monday's qualifier at the Turtle Bay Palmer course consisted of 69 competitors - many of whom made the trip from homes on the mainland - vying for just four open spots in the field. That means dozens of players buying pricey airline tickets, renting cars, booking hotel rooms and paying caddies, just for a chance to play in this week's event.

This time the foursome consisted of Derek Tolan, Frank Lickliter, Martin Trainer and Eric Dugas. That means 65 other players, many of whom live nowhere near the island of Oahu, coming up empty in their big-money gamble that is essentially a chance to have a chance to play this week.

Like I mentioned, professional golf ain't easy.