Steph Curry, yes, the Steph Curry, is set to tee it up later this summer at the Web.com Tour’s Ellie Mae Classic. Curry is an avid golfer during the NBA offseason and is a 2 handicap. He is a mainstay at the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship Tournament at Edgewood, South Lake Tahoe, and has even appeared on the Golf Channel’s Feherty.
The Web.com Tour is a developmental tour for professional golfers who have not earned their PGA Tour card, or who have lost their PGA Tour card and are competing to earn it back.
Some may wonder, how can a professional basketball player all of a sudden play in a professional golf event? The answer lies in the Web.com Tour’s eligibility ranking, which explains who comprises each tournament. The ranking consists of 31 categories, one of which is a sponsor exemption. The sponsor exemption allows the Web.com Tour’s tournament sponsor (e.g., Ellie Mae) to choose four golfers, amateurs or professionals, to compete in their event. Two of the four are unrestricted. As a result, the tournament sponsor may choose whomever they want to fill the two slots. They can choose Johnny the local caddie, or perhaps maybe even an NBA star.
Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry in action, drive from tee on No 4 while playing a round of golf at Spyglass Hill GC. Deanne Fitzmaurice F52 )
The impact of Steph Curry taking up one of the sponsor exemptions is that an aspiring PGA Tour member, who is grinding each day to fulfill his dream, is left out. Certainly Steph Curry realizes what it is like to grind, having been overlooked by many major college programs and ultimately landing at lower-tier Davidson College. It goes without saying, but aspiring tour players are likely to take issue with his selection.
On the other hand, Curry’s appearance is without a doubt going to help raise funds for the Warriors Community Foundation, which is the main charitable beneficiary of the event. More spectators are likely to attend the event, and it wouldn’t be surprising if his teammates did as well. The PGA Tour is always looking for opportunities to grow the game, and showcasing Curry as a competitor at a local event doesn’t hurt.
Lastly, the selection of local celebrities as sponsor exemptions is nothing new. In fact, other pro athletes have competed in a Web.com tournaments in the past, including Jerry Rice at the Ellie Mae Classic (zero cuts made). Whether it is fair or not is up for debate.
The Ellie Mae Classic will take place from July 31st – August 6th at TPC Stonebrae in Hayward, CA.
Cover Image Via Instagram
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