Napoleon High School graduate Brian Stuard follows through on a drive during the Rocket Mortgage Classic last year. Photo by Jeff Steers, JTV Sports.
By Jeff Steers
(March 25, 2020 6:26 PM) PGA Tour player Brian Stuard will have nearly two months off as the Tour canceled or postponed 11 events following The Players Championship due to the Coronavirus outbreak in the United States.
The PGA Tour is scheduled to start up at the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas.
That could play right into Stuard’s hand as Fort Worth is his new hometown and the Rocket Mortgage Classic is the following week.
“It sure would be nice to play those tournament (the Charles Schwab Challenge and the Rocket Mortgage Classic) to restart the season,” Stuard said via phone on Wednesday. “I know I will be playing a lot of golf this summer.”
But the abrupt break in the Tour – the PGA canceled The Players Championship after round one – was “bizarre” according to Stuard. He heard about the cancelation on Thursday, March 13, after shooting 2 under par in the first round.
“It was about 9:45 on Thursday night and I was ready to go to sleep,” Stuard told Bill Hobson on the podcast for www.ForeGolfersNetwork.com. “We heard (on the course) about 11 o’clock (a.m.) they were closing the gates to fans. Everyone in the group was taking about it.
“We thought we were going to play the next three days without fans.”
Instead, the tournament was canceled and players in the event were issued an equal number of FedEx Cup points and prize money.
Stuard is currently 58th on the FedEx Cup Series points list. The top 125 golfers at the end of the season earn playing privileges for the 2020-2021 season. The cancellation of nine tournaments and postponement of two major tournaments may play into the hands of Stuard.
“It is going to be tough for guys coming out of the Korn Ferry Tour or players outside the top 125,” Stuard said. “It is going to be hard to get into some of these tournaments.”
The Napoleon High School graduate said he supports the decision by the PGA Tour.
“I felt like it was the right decision,” Stuard told the podcast. “It is such a strange time in the world right now.
Stuard was a little disappointed about the cancelation due to the fact he “figured something out” during his round at TPC Sawgrass.
“I felt like things were trending in the right direction,” Stuard said. “I played really well on the back nine to get to 2 under par.
“I had been struggling for a few weeks.”
The longtime PGA player said he has gone back to a standard putting style.
“I am using a conventional putter and working on a good release,” Stuard said. “Putting is a strange thing because sometimes the putts don’t go in and you feel like you are doing the same thing (when they were being holed).”
Stuard hopes the PGA Tour can continue the season following the projected two-month break.
“(Detroit) would be the second event back,” Stuard said. “It is just a matter of wait and see.”
Stuard has earned more than $815,000 in the 2019-2020 season and has 349 FedEx Cup Series points. He went over the $10 million mark in career earnings earlier in the season.
Stuard told Hobson he was working out and taking a break from the game. He has a simulator in his garage near Fort Worth.
“I am trying to stay sane around the house,” Stuard said.
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