Brendan Steele did not qualify to play in the Masters last week, and I’ve been asked what he will have to do to play in the Masters in 2016. There are several ways he could qualify between now and then. Steele could either:
1. Win any official, full-points PGA Tour event between now and the 2016 Masters; or
2. Place in the top four in this year’s U.S. Open (June), British Open (July) or PGA Championship (August). Qualifications for those tournaments are discussed below; or
3. Qualify as one of the top-30 players on the FedExCup points list, eligible for the year-ending Tour Championship (September) — Steele currently is 26th; or
4. Place in the top 50 in the Official World Golf Rankings, as published either at the end of this 2015 season or the week prior to the 2016 Masters — Steele currently is 87th.
To qualify for this year’s U.S. Open in June, Steele will have to play qualifying rounds, since he does not fit within any of that championship’s exemptions.
To qualify for this year’s The Open (British Open) in July, Steele will have to be in the top four players not otherwise qualified for The Open to also finish in the top 12 at either the Travelers (June) or the Greenbrier (July), or be the top player not otherwise qualified for The Open to finish in the top 12 at the John Deere (July). He could also qualify by finishing very high in either of the French, Irish or Scottish opens.
Steele will likely play in this year’s PGA Championship in August (which is run by the PGA, not the PGA Tour) by qualifying in various ways, including being in the top 70 on the PGA Tour money list between last year’s and this year’s PGA Championship — Steele is 35th on this year’s money list — or being in the top 100 in the Official World Golf Rankings — Steele currently is 87th.
Steele qualifies for The Players Championship three weeks from now in May, sometimes spoken of as being “the fifth major,” by virtue of being one of the top-125 players on the PGA Tour last year.
According to his website, the native Idyllwilder will tee up next week on the TPC Louisiana Course in Avondale, Louisiana, in the $6.9 million Zurich Classic of New Orleans.