BOB WEST ON GOLF: Chris Stroud, Andrew Landry get little rest as PGA resumes

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Crazy as it seems, since it has only been 10 days since the 2018-19 PGA Tour season ended, the new year starts next Thursday in West Virginia.

Yes, professional golf has a short off-season.

Though most of the game’s biggest names will be seen only rarely in the eight tournaments that make up the regular portion of the PGA’s fall tour, it’s an important part of the schedule for guys like Chris Stroud and Andrew Landry.

Consequently, the Port Neches-Groves exes are planning to play four of the first five events.

Landry is down for the first three — next week’s Military Tribute at the Greenbrier in West Virginia, the Sept. 19-22 Sanderson Farms in Jackson, Mississippi, and the Sept. 26-29 Safeway Open in Napa, California. He’ll take a week off, then play in the new Houston Open set for Oct. 10-13 at the Golf Club of Houston.

Stroud, meanwhile, providing he’s healthy enough to tee it up, is planning on playing the first two, skipping the Safeway, then returning for the Shriners Hospital tourney in Las Vegas and the Houston Open. He’s also tentatively planning on the Nov. 14-17 Mayakoba Championship in Mexico and the Nov. 21-24 RSM Classic on Sea Island, Georgia.

Both Stroud, 37, and Landry, 32, are in a situation where they must finish in the FedEx top 125 to retain a playing card for the following year. Stroud survived that scenario this past season, finishing 102nd in the FedEx standings. Landry, who was on a two-year exemption thanks to his 2018 win in San Antonio, finished strong to place 96th in the final FedEx standings.

Because the fall fields aren’t as strong from top to bottom, those tournaments offer guys fighting for their cards a chance to pile up FedEx points early and not be under the gun later. A couple of top 10s in the fall can do wonders as a confidence builder and stress reliever.

Stroud is coming off an injury-plagued season that saw him have to sit out early, make an impressive run after he came back, then really struggle for several weeks. He was able to save his card thanks to four top 10s, highlighted by a tie for second in the Corales Puntacana Championship.

That helped him survive making only one cut in a stretch of 10 individual stroke play events. Ultimately, he nailed down his card with a T4 in the July John Deere Classic.

Stroud wound up with $1,075,552 in official winnings, finished with a 71.64 stroke average and will start the new season with an Official World Golf Ranking of 208.

Landry, who got an early money boost because the San Antonio win qualified him to the January Tournament of Champions in Hawaii, struggled most of the year to put four rounds together. He managed only one top 10 — an outright third in the John Deere — made 15 of 25 cuts and banked $887,405 in official earnings.

With the security blanket of a guaranteed exemption gone, the former University of Arkansas standout figures to have a greater sense of urgency. He was starting to play well late in the 2018-19 season and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him get out to a fast start. He begins the year ranked number 139 in the OWGR.

Up next: Bob West’s Chip Shots