PGA Tour pro blasts Webb Simpson and Peter Malnati: "Complete bull----"

Sponsor exemptions into this week's AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am have ruffled feathers of the PGA Tour membership, according to a report.

Ben Smith's picture
Thu, 1 Feb 2024
PGA Tour pro blasts Webb Simpson and Peter Malnati: "Complete bull----"

A PGA Tour player has described the additions of policy board members Peter Malnati and Webb Simpson into the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am field as 'complete bull----'. 

If you aren't aware, the PGA Tour event this week at the iconic links will look like never before. 

The field? Stronger than ever and limited to 80 players. 

Update: Malnati launches impassioned defence

The purse has been beefed up to an astronomical $20m and the celebrities will only play for two days. 

It paves the way for Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIlroy et al to take centre stage over the weekend. 

Oh, and there are also 700 FedEx Cup points awarded to the victor, instead of 500 that is typically awarded to winners of Tour events. 

Of course, every PGA Tour member will aspire to have the opportunity to tee it up at one of these elevated tournaments given the riches on offer. 

There is one 'easy' way in which they can do so: play good golf and the rest takes care of itself. 

This is a meritocracy, afterall, right? 

To some, there isn't a great deal of meritocracy given how some have made their way into the Pebble Beach field via the implementation of what is called the Aon Swing 5 and sponsor exemptions. 

Let's get to the Aon Swing 5 first. 

Recent winners Matthieu Pavon and Grayson Murray, plus Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Kevin Yu and Stephen Jaeger are in the Pebble Beach field via this category. 

It consists the top five FedExCup points earners from the last three full-field events: the Sony Open in Hawaii, The American Express, and the Farmers Insurance Open, who are not otherwise exempt.

Tour players seemed to be of the understanding that winners would be exempt into the signature events. 

Which is still true but the Aon 5 falls higher on the priority list than winning. 

The PGA Tour argue it was designed to give the trending players a shot. 

One golfer, who asked Golfweek for anonymity, told the publication: "Now it's like, oh, no, winners are part of the Swing 5.

"That is allowing fewer players to qualify for these events.

"It's really disappointing that you're under the impression that if you play well, you're going to have the opportunity to get into one of these events and then you don't. 

"If there are an extra two or three players in this field, who cares at this point? There's $20m in the purse."

Scroll down...

Sponsor exemption controversy

It also hasn't gone unnoticed to some of the rank-and-file membership that three of the four sponsor exemptions this week were given to policy board members Malnati, Simpson and Adam Scott

Maverick McNealy was the other sponsor invite. 

Another Tour pro described the invites as 'bull----', adding: "Peter Malnati has zero business getting an invite into a signature event and Webb shouldn't really either. It just seems very fishy."

On the surface it doesn't really pass the smell test, given the PGA Tour-SSG deal that Malnati, Simpson and Scott helped negotiate, along with Tiger Woods, Patrick Cantlay and Jordan Spieth

What do you think?

Read more: