Harold Varner III has played just eight major championships in his career, and he’s never teed it up in the Masters. That all could change this year.
Varner rocketed up the Official World Golf Ranking on Monday, a day after his victory at the Saudi International, going from No. 99 to a career-best No. 45. He is inside the coveted top 50 in the world, which will earn him starts in every major this year should he maintain that position at various cutoff dates – March 28 for Masters, June 6 for U.S. Open (top 60) and July TBD for The Open (he’s likely already punched his PGA Championship ticket).
“I was wanting that,” Varner said of his top-50 status. “That is awesome. I was wondering that. Yeah, that’s the goal, man. That gets you in the things that I haven’t played in. I’ve played in some big events here and there, but yeah, that’s why we play.”
Bubba Watson, who finished runner-up to Varner after Varner holed a 92-foot eagle putt from off the green on the 72nd hole, rose from No. 105 to No. 60. Watson is only exempt for the Masters (and likely PGA) at this point.
Elsewhere, Tom Hoge moved comfortably inside the top 50 after his maiden PGA Tour victory at Pebble Beach. He is No. 39, up 29 spots from last week and 71 from the end of last year.