With PGA Tour cards on the line, these pros missed the cut at 2023 RSM Classic

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. — A prominent swing instructor summed up why he could cut tension on the range at the RSM Classic with a rusty nail.

“Some of these guys don’t know whether they will ever tee it up at a PGA Tour event,” he said.

This week is the 54th and final Tour event of the 2022-23 season and so the 36-hole cut Friday had more of a sense of finality for some, especially those battling to make the top 125 and full status for next season or Nos. 126-150 and secure conditional status.

Peter Malnati, who entered the week at No. 116, shot 69-71 (140) and missed the cut and said he’ll be playing the waiting game all weekend. He’s projected No.122. Two three-putts in the first round was uncharacteristic of Malnati and the putter remained cold in the second round. But at least he had the right perspective.

“With or without a Tour card, I’m going to be awesome but I’d rather have one,” he said.

Harry Higgs, who started the week at No. 132 and had missed three straight cuts, made birdie on two of the last three holes to shoot 70 on Seaside Course and make the cut on the number.

All told, 78 golfers shot 4-under 138 or better at Sea Island’s Seaside and Plantation Courses. Higgs didn’t need anyone to let him know what what at stake when he made an 11-foot birdie putt on 18 at Seaside to make the cut.

“No, I know. I know it all too well after this year. Oddly, I wasn’t really that worried about it or focused on it,” he said. “For the last two years I’ve been stressing, worrying about all this shit. And for some reason, I don’t know why, I don’t know that I even said it aloud, I might have just thought it briefly, like I’m just not really going to worry about it this week.”

Patton Kizzire, who entered the week at No. 130, channeled the same philosophy and made birdie on his final two holes at the Plantation Course to make the cut and give himself two more rounds to jump up a few more spots. He’s projected No. 129.

Here are some pros who weren’t so fortunate and had their season come to a premature end. And here are the Saturday tee times for those who did make the weekend.

Doug Ghim (3 under)

2023 RSM Classic
Doug Ghim hits a tee shot on the 14th hole during the second round of the 2023 RSM Classic on the Seaside Course at Sea Island Resort in St Simons Island, Georgia. (Photo: Alex Slitz/Getty Images)

Ghim entered the week at No. 117 in the FedEx Cup Fall and missed the cut by one stroke. As of Friday, he’s projected to be the bubble boy at No. 125.

Ghim missed the cut for the second week in a row. The Texas product didn’t make a birdie until 18 in his first round on Thursday at the Plantation Course and shot 72. He will be punching up the live leaderboard all weekend to see if he can hang on to full status for the 2024 season but his future now is out of his control.

 

Peter Malnati (2 under)

2023 Butterfield Bermuda Championship
Peter Malnati lines up a putt on the third green during the second round of the 2023 Butterfield Bermuda Championship at Port Royal Golf Course in Southampton, Bermuda. (Photo: Marianna Massey/Getty Images)

Malnati, who entered the week at No. 116, shot 69-71–140 and missed the cut and said he’ll be playing the waiting game all weekend. (He’s projected No.122). Two three putts in the first round was uncharacteristic of Malnati and the putter remained cold in the second round. But at least he had the right perspective.

“With or without a Tour card, I’m going to be awesome but I’d rather have one,” he said.

Henrik Norlander (2 under)

2023 RSM Classic
Henrik Norlander hits a tee shot on the 14th hole during the second round of The RSM Classic on the Plantation Course at Sea Island Resort on November 17, 2023 in St Simons Island, Georgia. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Norlander, who entered the week at No. 126, missed the cut at the RSM Classic and it will cost him a chance at full exempt status for next season.

He opened with 3-under 67 at the more difficult Seaside Course but struggled on Friday at the Plantation Course. He was 2-over on the day with eight holes to go before rallying to the cutline with three straight birdies to straddle the line at 4-under. But he made bogey at 17 and missed by a stroke. Norlander was 4 of 8 in scrambling on Friday.

Zach Johnson (2 under)

2023 RSM Classic
Zach Johnson and his caddie line up a putt on the 13th green during the second round of the 2023 RSM Classic on the Plantation Course at Sea Island Resort in St Simons Island, Georgia. (Photo: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Johnson missed the cut at his hometown event for the fifth time in 14 starts and second in a row.

Johnson shot a pair of 70s. He struggled with the putter on Thursday, losing nearly 2.5 strokes to the field on the greens.

 

Webb Simpson (1 under)

2023 Wyndham Championship
Webb Simpson watches his shot from the 11th tee during the third round of the 2023 Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, North Carolina. (Photo: David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports)

Simpson made his 12th start at an event where he’s finished second twice and third before, but he said he struggled playing in the wind and rain on Thursday at Plantation Course. He shot 1-over 73 and that dug himself a hole he couldn’t dig out of with a 2-under 68 at Seaside on Friday.

 

Padraig Harrington (even par)

2023 RSM Classic
Padraig Harrington hits a tee shot on the 14th hole during the second round of the 2023 RSM Classic on the Plantation Course at Sea Island Resort in St Simons Island, Georgia. (Photo: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Harrington has been a force to be reckoned with on PGA Tour Champions and solid when playing against the flat bellies. But after seven made cuts this season on the PGA Tour, he missed at the RSM Classic, shooting even-par 142.

 

Billy Horschel (even par)

2023 RSM Classic
Billy Horschel reacts after a putt on the first green during the first round of the 2023 RSM Classic on the Seaside Course at Sea Island Resort in St Simons Island, Georgia. (Photo: Alex Slitz/Getty Images)

Horschel, who was playing for the first time on the PGA Tour since finishing fourth at the Wyndham Championship in August, was looking to improve his world ranking to help his chances of qualifying for the Masters in the top 50 at the end of calendar year category. But it wasn’t to be. He shot even-par 142. Playing in the event for the first time since 2019, he missed the cut for the second time in five career starts.

“The putter was cold this week. That didn’t help a lot. We hit a lot of good shots that we thought were going to turn out very well and they didn’t,” he said. “It’s just one of those weeks, unfortunately, where it [ball-striking] wasn’t that bad. It was better than what the score shows.”

Davis Love III (1 over)

2023 RSM Classic
A standard during the first round of the 2023 RSM Classic on the Plantation Course at Sea Island Resort on November 16, 2023 in St Simons Island, Georgia. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Love, the tournament host, missed the cut at the RSM Classic for the sixth time in his career. He made his 790th career start on the PGA Tour this week.  Love was 3-under on Thursday before making three bogeys in a row starting at the fourth hole on Thursday and went 21 holes without a birdie to seal his fate.

Love was in an all-Tar Heel group as his playing partners the first two days were University of North Carolina twins David and Maxwell Ford. They, too, missed the cut.

Jimmy Walker (3 over)

2023 Butterfield Bermuda Championship
Jimmy Walker hits a tee shot on the 16th hole during the second round of the 2023 Butterfield Bermuda Championship at Port Royal Golf Course on November 10, 2023 in Southampton, Bermuda. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Walker, the former PGA Championship winner, ended the regular season at No. 124 in the FedEx Cup regular season and wasn’t happy that he had to continue to play for his status in the fall. He made the cut in the first two events but missed the cut in his final four starts, including rounds of 73-72 at Sea Island Resort.

Walker is projected No. 139 and will have conditional status next season.

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek