Insane Monday qualifier weather tops PGA Tour rookie turmoil

extreme weather and rain on golf course in hawaii

Extreme weather came at an inopportune time for many PGA Tour rookies: the Monday qualifier.

Monday Q Info/X

It is once again the time of year for “timeshare” vacations.

You, an ostensibly normal individual, are miring in your twelfth consecutive week of frigid weather when an email appears. What’s this? A vacation?! Severely discounted, or perhaps even free? To a beautiful place? And a beautiful resort? In a fit of excitement, you sign up for the trip, bypassing numerous web pages worth of legal jargon in the process.

It is only later, after your plane lands in paradise, that you realize something is gravely wrong. There is a meeting on your schedule — a required meeting — that runs several hours in length and is attempting to sell you a piece of property you’ll only kind of own. As the sell comes in hard and fast, your mind fills with regret. Why did you do this? Why do you feel obligated to be here? Why, in your state of colorful drink-induced delirium, are you sort of tempted to say yes?

Dear reader, if you have found yourself in this unenviable position at any point in your life, we bring you good news: you are not alone. In fact, a whole legion of PGA Tour rookies is undergoing a very similar affliction as we speak.

The Tour’s vacation dilemma started a few weeks ago, when the first email went out to this year’s PGA Tour rookie class. The news was, charitably, quite exciting: those preparing for their first year on the big tour in 2024 were required to attend a mandatory Rookie Symposium in Hawaii at the beginning of January. The meetings would fall on the weekend preceding the second event of the ’24 season, the Sony Open — an event which many of the Tour’s rookies were likely to be playing already — and those who were not invited into the field would have their travel costs covered by the Tour. At the time, the pitch sounded pretty good: start the year off with a free trip to Hawaii, attend a few silly meetings, drink in some sunshine and maybe even Monday qualify into a season-opening paycheck. Not half-bad!

But then things started to turn bad. As our pal Monday Q Info reported alongside fellow pro Mark Baldwin, the first problem arose when the tournament invitations began to circulate. Suddenly, many of the pros who had been told they were likely to receive invites realized their inboxes were empty. As it turned out, the rejiggering of the PGA Tour’s fall schedule had resulted in many of the Tour’s working class opting in to the Sony Open in an effort to get a head start on the points and earning potential of the season. Suddenly, the field had filled up, and many of the rookies were left without invites.

Fortunately, those who were anticipating an invite weren’t entirely out of luck. They could still compete in the Monday qualifier for the event, held just down the street from Waialae Country Club, for a slot in the field. Of course, these aren’t exactly winning bets for players, who often have to shoot five under or better in a single round of golf just to earn a spot in the field — but it was better than nothing. This is when the second problem arose: the Tour’s rookie orientation was scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, leaving players with few opportunities, if any at all, to play practice rounds on the Monday qualifier course.

While frustrating, the rookie orientation went off without a hitch, leaving those in the field to compete on Monday in what was expected to be a highly competitive qualifier. But when the sun rose on Monday, the biggest problem of the week rose with it: the forecast. The day called not for another tropical Hawaiian afternoon, but rather a chain of thunderstorms and heavy rain that resulted in flood advisories covering much of the island of Oahu.

Play began as usual in the Monday qualifier, but it didn’t take long before the rain reached biblical proportions, with howling winds sending umbrellas flying.

Eventually, a group of nine players led by low-scorers Martin Trainer and Parker Coody (six under) made it into the Sony Open field, while the rest of the Monday qualifier’s 80 players headed home check-less.

There are, of course, worse ways to start the 2024 season than a week in Hawaii for the PGA Tour rookie class. But there is an even more important lesson: in travel as in life, nothing is free.

James Colgan Editor

James Colgan is a news and features editor at GOLF, writing stories for the website and magazine. He manages the Hot Mic, GOLF’s media vertical, and utilizes his on-camera experience across the brand’s platforms. Prior to joining GOLF, James graduated from Syracuse University, during which time he was a caddie scholarship recipient (and astute looper) on Long Island, where he is from. He can be reached at