Pro from Michael Jordan’s club finishes controversial start 72 shots off lead

Ken Weyand hits a shot with a graphic of his scorecard overlayed.

Ken Weyand finished a distant 72 strokes behind this week's winner in Dubai.

David Cannon/Getty Images

Seventy-two is a common number in golf.

It’s the par on many championship courses. It’s the number of holes in most professional golf tournaments. It’s a score most amateurs dream about.

Tiger Woods opened the 2008 U.S. Open with a 72 on his way to his 14th major title, while Jack Nicklaus opened his first major title, the 1962 U.S. Open, with the same score.

In most cases, being associated with 72 is a good thing in golf.

Unless you’re Ken Weyand.

Weyand, you may have read or heard earlier this week, is the director of golf at the Grove XXIII, Michael Jordan’s uber-exclusive private club in Hobe Sound, Fla. This week, he played as a sponsor’s invite in the DP World Tour’s limited-field Dubai Invitational, where he opened with an 87, and things didn’t get much better from there.

Weyand, who is 54, posted back-to-back rounds of 82 on Friday and Saturday before closing with an 86 for a four-day total of 53-over 337. His tally left him — you guessed it — 72 strokes behind winner Tommy Fleetwood, who birdied the 72nd hole to clip Rory McIlroy by a shot at 19 under.

In the 60-player, no-cut event, Weyand made just birdies and was 39 shots behind Sweden’s Jens Dantorp, who finished 59th.

Weyand’s presence at the tournament, his first start on an OWGR-recognized Tour, drew the ire of longtime European Tour member Eddie Pepperell, who roasted the sponsor’s invite on X after Weyand’s opening round.

“Limited man field, and old Ken Weyand gets an invite and then does this,” Pepperell tweeted. “I don’t care if he’s Ken from Barbie, it shouldn’t happen.”

Pepperell was responding to the OWGR tracking account @VC606, who was reporting that Weyand would not earn his first OWGR points this week due to a recent change by the ranking body. In late December, the OWGR announced tournaments with 80 players or fewer, the bottom 15 percent of the field would no longer receive ranking points.

Rory McIlroy in orange shirt wraps arm around Tommy Fleetwood in purple shirt at Dubai Invitational
After ‘sloppy’ Rory McIlroy finish, Tommy Fleetwood steals a key win
By: James Colgan

Ranking points or not, Weyand’s play became a hot-button topic, especially with many DP World Tour pros eager to get into the event. Richard Mansell, an English pro who played with Weyand in the first two rounds, came to the club pro’s defense on X. He later sympathized with him to the UK Telegraph.

“Yeah, it’s been a tricky few days and I’d be lying if I said that it wasn’t distracting,” Mansell told the Telegraph. “Look, I saw what Eddie posted and I’ve read a few more comments and I can understand where they’re coming from. But the way I look at it is that without the sponsor, this tournament doesn’t happen. So for their special two invites, or whatever they got this week, they can invite who they want, I suppose. That’s golf. I do feel for Matty Jordan, though.”

Matthew Jordan, the Royal Liverpool member who dazzled fans at last summer’s Open Championship, was the first player on the alternate list. The other of the two sponsor’s invites this week was 15-time DP World Tour winner and 2018 Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn.

Weyand played two holes this week, the 7th and 18th, in a combined 16 over. His final scoring line: 32 pars, 25 bogeys, 10 doubles, two birdies, two triples and a quad.

Jack Hirsh Editor

Jack Hirsh is an assistant editor at GOLF. A Pennsylvania native, Jack is a 2020 graduate of Penn State University, earning degrees in broadcast journalism and political science. He was captain of his high school golf team and recently returned to the program to serve as head coach. Jack also still *tries* to remain competitive in local amateurs. Before joining GOLF, Jack spent two years working at a TV station in Bend, Oregon, primarily as a Multimedia Journalist/reporter, but also producing, anchoring and even presenting the weather. He can be reached at