Ready for a New Season? Rory McIlroy Headlines Field at Open

October 11, 2015

SEASIDE, Calif.—The Presidents Cup is over so step back, take one good, long deep breath and relax. Then get ready for the new PGA Tour season because it begins, like, now!

That’s right, the 2015-2016 PGA Tour wraparound season is about to get in your face. Hope you had time to unpack your luggage, pro.

Officially, the first round of the season lid-lifter, the Open, will happen Thursday at the Silverado Resort and Spa’s North Course in Napa, Calif.

Technically, however, the first strokes of the Open are slated to happen here on Monday, 150 miles away and three days earlier, with the Monday qualifying round.

Ninety-two players will tee it up at the notoriously difficult Bayonet Course to play for four spots in the Open field.

It’s odd to have the Monday qualifier so far removed from the tournament site. The Open had been held for years at CordeValle Golf Resort in Gilroy, Calif., just a few miles north of the Monterey Bay area. The tournament moved to Silverado last year in the Napa Valley, however, and it’s curious that the Monday qualifier didn’t move to at least be in the same area code as the Open.

The best-known name in Monday’s lineup is Anthony Kim but hold on a minute. It’s not The Anthony Kim, the former Ryder Cupper known as A.K. who has been out of golf and mysteriously out of the spotlight due to injuries for the last handful of years. This is a different golfer who also just so happens be named Anthony Kim.

There are two former Ryder Cuppers in the field—Chris Riley and Vaughn Taylor—and assorted former PGA Tour winners, including Ted Purdy, Chris Smith, Frank Lickliter, David Gossett, Heath Slocum and Billy Mayfair.

Other names familiar to golf observers include Greg Chalmers, Kevin Tway and Luke List, Brian Davis and John Merrick.

The tournament field itself is headlined by former world No. 1 player Rory McIlroy, who is fulfilling an agreement he made with the Tour to play in this tournament as payback for being allowed to play an event in Turkey three years earlier that was held opposite the Open.

Three players who competed in the Presidents Cup for the International team are scheduled to fly back from South Korea to play this week—Steven Bowditch, Hideki Matsuyama and Charl Schwartzel.

England’s Justin Rose, ranked seventh in the world, is also listed among the entries.

Also competing for the first time since July, when he was suspended for using an over-the-counter drug (DHEA) that is on the PGA Tour’s banned substance list, is former Tour winner Scott Stallings.