'Why Is There Never "Real" Qualifications?' - Tour Pro Questions PGA Championship Invites After Full Field Is Confirmed

PGA Tour pro Dylan Wu was left confused after certain players well outside of the OWGR's top-100 were invited to Valhalla while others on the precipice of the ranking system were not

Dylan Wu practices Aim-point technique at the CJ Cup Byron Nelson 2024
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The full field for the 2024 PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Kentucky has been set.

From former Major winners to first-timers based on different tours around the world - including the LIV Golf League - the second men's Major of the year is set to be the most inclusive and arguably the strongest field of the four.

Yet, some people in the game are not convinced that the process used to build such a field makes absolute sense. The line-up of 156 players is filled with former champions, the world’s top 100, Major winners over the past five years, special invites and others.

And it's the top-100 aspect of it is where PGA Tour pro Dylan Wu is a little confused. Not that he appeared to be complaining about his own prospects during a brief rant on social media earlier this week.

The World No.154 wondered how certain players right on the edge of the world's top-100 - such as SH Kim and Chan Kim - were overlooked for an invite when multiple players much further down the rankings were awarded a spot.

Quoting the PGA Championship's post about the full field being confirmed, Wu said: "Why is there never “real” qualifications for the PGA Championship? You have a points list and world-ranking invite. Usually just outside top 100 in OWGR gets in. Chan Kim ranked 104th in OWGR doesn’t get in. SH Kim at 107th isn’t in.

"Jesper Svennson ranked 108th gets in. Tim Widing 120th gets in. Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald gets a spot. A bunch of guys get leapfrogged even though they’re ranked higher than others. Seems like they just invite whoever they want. Unfair to the guys on the edge like Chan and SH."

The PGA Championship is unique in that its qualifying/invite system allows room for manoeuvre while the other three men's Majors all have definitive qualifying criteria, leaving little room for doubt over what it takes to tee it up in one of the season's biggest events.

The next Major stop also does not include amateurs, with the 20 low scoring club pros from the most recent PGA Professional Championship eligible to tee it up.

Wu continued: "Just seems like the world of professional golf is in a weird spot, and I love that the tournament invited a handful of great LIV players but figure out a correct system for a major championship where guys know they’ll be in or not."

The 27-year-old also complained about sponsor's exemptions being handed out to Player-Directors on the PGA Tour board recently after Webb Simpson and Adam Scott were invited to play in the Arnold Palmer Invitational earlier this season.

At the time, it was Scott's third consecutive exemption into one of the PGA Tour's Signature Events while Simpson - who has recently stepped down to be replaced by Rory McIlroy - has just received his fourth sponsor's invite into the sixth Signature tournament of the year.

Wu said it "doesn't seem fair" that players receive more than one invitation to a tournament where extra money and FedEx Cup points are on the line, going on to suggest that both players' positions in the golfing establishment helped them earn a leg up.

Webb Simpson at The Players Championship

Former PGA Tour Player-Director, Webb Simpson

(Image credit: Getty Images)

He said: “Great players and major champions. I can’t say much because I missed the cut hard this week but getting more than one sponsor exemption into elevated events doesn’t seem fair.

“Great players and major champions. I can’t say much because I missed the cut hard this week, but getting more than one sponsor exemption into elevated events doesn’t seem fair.

“And trust me, they’re both great players that probably deserve it but this new model is all about meritocracy,” Wu explained. “Sponsor exemptions going to the same players every elevated event doesn’t seem to follow the “play better” saying. Seems like “be more famous” or “know the right people."

The PGA Championship takes place at Valhalla GC between May 16-19.

Jonny Leighfield
Staff Writer

Jonny Leighfield is our Staff News Writer who joined Golf Monthly just in time for the 2023 Solheim Cup and Ryder Cup. He graduated from the University of Brighton with a degree in Sport Journalism in 2017 and spent almost five years as the sole sports reporter at his local newspaper. An improving golfer who still classes himself as ‘one of the worst players on the Golf Monthly team’, Jonny enjoys playing as much as he can and is hoping to reach his Handicap goal of 18 at some stage. He attended both the 150th and 151st Opens and is keen to make it an annual pilgrimage.