Former Jackets make waves across pro golf

Former Jacket Stewart Cink confers with his caddie and son, Tech alum Reagan Cink, before taking his shot in the 14th hole of the second round of the RBC Heritage tournament. // Photo courtesy of Sam Greenwood

At a time when pro golf is fractured, it is paramount to recognize that former Jackets made a significant impact in the world of pro golf this year. 

Matt Kuchar, arguably the most successful Jacket in professional golf over the last 20 years and one of the most accomplished golfers during that time frame to not win a major, continued an impressive career in 2023. He finished 66th in the FedEx Cup, earning him automatic entry into each elevated event for the 2024 season. Kuchar concluded his season with a runner-up finish at the Worldwide Technologies Championship. He made 20 of 27 cuts during the year and tied Tiger Woods for most victories in the WGC Dell Match Play tournament. 

Stewart Cink is the only Jacket pro in the last twenty years to win a major championship, shielding off Tom Watson at the 2009 Open Championship at Turnberry. This year, Cink had a disappointing season, finishing 167th in the final FedEx Cup standings. He was an assistant captain for the American Ryder Cup team in their loss in Rome this past fall. While exempt on the PGA Tour for the rest of the 2024 season, Cink turned 50 this year, allowing him to  compete on the Champions Tour now. He should dominate in the Charles Schwab Cup this year on the Champions Tour. 

While Tech has many successful PGA Tour members, the Jackets have more that are looking to break out in 2024. First is recent Tech graduate Ross Steelman. After Tech finished runner-up in the NCAA D-1 championships to Florida, he decided to turn pro. 

He finished fourth in the PGA Tour University Rankings giving him Korn Ferry Tour (KFT) status for the rest of 2023. He then finished inside the top 25 of the PGA Tour Final stage Q-school to ensure he maintained his card for 2024. Steelman has already finished third in the Bahamas Great Exuma Classic and is trending towards PGA Tour status next year. 

A couple more names to look out for on the PGA Tour and KFT this season are Chesson Hadley, Vince Whaley and Chris Petefish. Hadley has been shuffling between KFT and the PGA Tour for multiple years but has been in able to keep his PGA Tour card recently due to consistent finishes towards the end of the season. He finished 121th in the FedEx Cup, just high enough to ensure status for this upcoming year. 

On the other hand, Whaley received a major medical exemption to compete on the PGA Tour for the 2024 season. He finished top eight at the Butterfield Bermuda Championship and made 10 out of 14 cuts last season during his starts. Petefish was a KFT last season finishing 45th, high enough to keep his KFT status for the 2024 season. While he only made nine cuts, he had two runner up finishes, including one in the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship, the penultimate event of the season. 

There are also multiple Jackets competing on the LIV Golf tour right now. Andy Ogletree, winner of the 2019 U.S. Amateur, won the International Series Order of Merit, earning him a spot on the LIV Golf tour for 2024. He joined fellow Jacket pro Cameron Tringale on the HyFlyers team captained by Phil Mickelson.  

On the amateur side, follow the Tech Golf team as they kick off their spring season this weekend in the Amer Ari Intercollegiate at the Mauna Lani Resort North Course.