Be it someone holding a club for the first time, or the number one-ranked player in the world, everybody who plays the sport can agree on one thing: golf is hard.
Full Swing’s seventh episode, Golf is Hard, focuses on two rookies, Sahith Theegala and Mito Pereira as they look to get a foothold on the PGA TOUR.
Winning tournaments – as seen throughout Full Swing – is notoriously difficult, but getting a PGA TOUR card in the first place is no walk in the park, and keeping it can be harder still.
The top 125 players in that season’s FedEx Cup standings earn a card, as do the top 50 players on the Korn Ferry Tour – the tour below the PGA TOUR. And that’s pretty much it.
On top of that, there are typically a maximum of 156 places available each week, so players with PGA TOUR cards aren’t even guaranteed to play PGA TOUR events.
Full Swing: Rory McIlroy on LIV defectors and PGA TOUR legacy
Full Swing: Brooks Koepka on career struggles
Every year there are countless golfers drifting between the PGA TOUR and the Korn Ferry Tour, and it’s a constant battle to maintain your place at golf’s top table.
Episode seven shows two golfers trying desperately to avoid exactly that.
One way to maintain your card when you’re on the PGA TOUR is to win a PGA TOUR event, giving you a full exemption for the following two years.
Sahith Theegala found himself in contention to win the Phoenix Open, but an adrenaline-fuelled drive on the 17th found the water, with Theegala ultimately falling into a tie for third.
While we see the emotional turmoil he feels, knowing the opportunity that has slipped through his fingers, it’s nothing compared to what Pereira is about to experience. He also has the consolation prize of more than $400,000, and across an impressive rookie season, in which Theegala made more than $3,000,000, the 24-year-old comfortably secured his place on the PGA TOUR for 2023.
Pereira’s story was a little different. The Chilean was the shock 54-hole leader at the PGA Championship – his first major since gaining his PGA TOUR card – and had a putt at the 17th for the chance to go two shots clear, but saw it stop impossibly short of the hole, before blowing up on the 18th.
Full Swing: Joel Dahmen on being the '70th-best player in the world'
Full Swing: Matt Fitzpatrick on 'validation' of US Open win
Full Swing: Ian Poulter on final PGA TOUR season before joining LIV
His tee shot would find the water, and knowing that par would be enough to win the tournament and bogey would see him in a three-man play-off, he made double bogey, finishing third. It was one of the most agonising collapses in major championship history.
Pereira would also receive a consolation prize of more than $800,000, and for a man whose first priority was to secure a PGA TOUR card for the following season – which he too did comfortably – it’s not a bad consolation at all.
bet365 is the Official Betting Operator of the PGA TOUR and you can watch all episodes of Full Swing exclusively on Netflix from 15th February.