The best tournament you’ve never heard of: JT, DJ, Rickie, Rory among those at golf’s most competitive member-guest

February 26, 2018

You won’t find it on the Tour schedule (nor are you likely to be invited to attend), but this may be one of golf’s most star-studded events: the Seminole pro-member. Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, and Rickie Fowler are among those teeing it up Monday at the intensely exclusive Juno Beach golf club. Titans of the Tour pair up with various high-powered businessmen in a one-day showdown featuring four of the world’s five top players (we’re guessing Jordan Spieth had other plans).

You can see the complete list of pairings here:

While this is an exhibition, the collective competitive fire in this field probably means they’ll be taking things seriously on Monday. Here’s a brief, non-comprehensive power-ranking of Monday’s two-man squads:

6. Harcourt Kemp & Justin Thomas

Player of the year getting hot at the right time? Yeah, whatever. Despite being paired with Kemp, a noted senior amateur, the Honda Hangover probably means JT won’t be fully dialed in for this one.

5. Bill DeWitt III & Dustin Johnson

The most fascinating (though maybe unsurprising) thing about this field is that DeWitt is one of nine (!!) players in the field with “III” attached to his name, led by investment banker Hugh Kenworthy III. DeWitt, the 49-year-old president of the St. Louis Cardinals, has one advantage over the others : he’s paired with the world’s top-ranked player.

4. Buddy Marucci & Rickie Fowler

Twenty-three years after his showdown with Tiger Woods in the finals of the 100th U.S. Amateur, we’re sure decorated player and former Walker Cup captain (Fowler played on his team) Buddy Marucci still has plenty of game. As for Rickie? On the one hand, he missed the cut at the Honda. On the other hand, he had plenty of time to rest up at home and, if he wasn’t out celebrating with Thomas all night, should be raring to go.

3. Gerry McIlroy & Rory McIlroy

Not only has Gerry become increasingly active in golf’s pro-am scene, he’s become a member at Seminole. While this same pairing missed the cut at Pebble Beach, they shot a respectable total of -16. Given that Rory didn’t shoot a round lower than 2-over at any point last week, why is this team ranked so high? I guess I like the fact that Gerry’s not a billionaire combined with the fact that their Irish father-son back-and-forth is so much fun.

2. Seth Waugh & Justin Rose

Rose and Waugh, a banking executive, triumphed in last year’s Net event with a team score of 61. Not the flashiest team, unless you count the glare coming off Rosie’s enormous shades, but undoubtedly effective. Can they defend their title?

1. Larry Fitzgerald & Jon Rahm

Rahm wisely sat out this week’s Honda Classic to prep for the Seminole event, so he’ll be plenty fresh. Better yet: he picked fellow Arizonian, future hall-of-famer, and (most importantly) alleged sandbagger Larry Fitzgerald as his partner. Larry Fitz and partner Kevin Streelman lapped the field by seven shots at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am a couple weeks ago, leading to a few cries of protest over the wide receiver’s 13 handicap. Sounds like a bunch of sore losers to me. Get ’em, fellas.