FORT WAYNE – The Web.com Tour, one tier below the PGA Tour, is a proving ground for the highest echelon of professional golf in the world.
Its where young players show they deserve to play among the best, and its where veterans demonstrate they deserve another chance to be on the PGA Tour.
Those players will at at Sycamore Hills Golf Club this week for the Hotel Fitness Championship, a new event and the first of four tournaments within the Web.com Tours Finals.
There will be players who have succeeded on golfs biggest stage. Trevor Immelman won the Masters, and Ricky Barnes finished second at the U.S. Open.
And there will be younger players who have impressed on the Web.com Tour such as Ben Martin. The 25-year-old is second on the Web.com money list with $396,249.
Sycamore Hills, I think the guys will enjoy it, golf legend Jack Nicklaus said in a video prepared by the PGA Tour for the media. Its a good golf course, a good test of golf.
Nicklaus designed Sycamore Hills, which has played host for five national championships for the United States Golf Association and the PGA of America. It was the site for last months U.S. Girls Junior.
The course will be new territory for a field of pros of this caliber, who will be vying for 2014 PGA Tour cards.
I think its kind of neat that youre having that, Nicklaus said of the Finals. The guys playing in it have a year-end challenge. Its kind of fun. I hope its another step toward growing the game and making it even better.
The tournament will begin Thursday and conclude Sunday.
The winner of the Hotel Fitness Championship will rake in $180,000 of the $1 million purse.
Having the four-tournament Finals – the other events will be in Charlotte, N.C., Columbus, Ohio, and Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. – was designed to add some spice to the Web.com Tour season and make it more exciting for fans to see how players get their PGA cards.
While the top 25 players on the Web.com Tour money list are guaranteed cards for next season, performance in the Finals will determine another 25 and positioning among all 50 getting cards.
Those eligible to compete at Sycamore Hills include Nos. 126 through 200 on the PGA Tours FedExCup points standings and the top 75 on the Web.com Tour.
Its really important to keep the pedal down (in the new Tour Finals), said Will Wilcox, who turned pro in 2009. Its just a special year. Theres a lot more money out there now. Its exciting and you have to learn to stay strong and stay focused through the end of the season. In the past, maybe you could take your foot off the accelerator, but you cannot do that now.
Kevin Kisner, who turned pro in 2006 and has been back and forth between the Web.com and PGA Tours, said its important to build confidence on the lower circuit if you want success on the PGA Tour.
When I came back to the Web.com (after 24 PGA Tour starts in 2012), my first goal was to win again, he said. Winning on this tour breeds confidence to propel you back to the PGA Tour. Whenever you win, you are better prepared to win out there (on the PGA Tour), knowing that you have done it against some of the best players on the Web.com Tour.