Rob Labritz’s rookie season as PGA Tour Champions Champion was a magical-carpet ride.
He has been able to play with some of the greatest players in the game, while also earning more than half a million dollars.
What is his favorite moment this year?
He said Tuesday, “This entire year has been a moment.”
The long-serving club pro can he create more memorable moments? This is his challenge this week.
Labritz, who is ranked 40th in the PGA Tour Champions’ playoff point list, enters the TimberTech Championship at Royal Palm Yacht & Country Club.
Only the 36 top finishers after this week will be eligible for full exemption to next year’s PGA Tour Champions.
Labritz requires a great week to continue his full-time employment. It must be a great week.
No pressure, huh?
Labritz stated, “I’m just treating it as another week.” “I have prepared myself mentally and physically. I’m ready. All I can do is hope that everything goes according to plan.
Labritz will not be finished with the PGA Tour Champions if he finishes below the top 36. Because of injuries, players who are ranked between 37th-40th will be given plenty of opportunities to start next year. Shane Bertsch was 37th in last year’s rankings and has participated in 25 events this season.
There is a huge difference between having a schedule that you can set and being able to play when you have a chance. Labritz cannot drop more spots unless Labritz wants to go back to q-school.
He said, “The key to me this week is having fun and hopefully getting in the top five or 10.” “If I don’t, I’ll cross the bridge when I get there. I don’t like to predict success and failure.”
Labritz played on the South Fork High Golf team in the 1980s, shortly after his family moved from Connecticut.
Labritz was a PGA Professional in several Florida clubs during the 1990s. He also played mini-tours. In 2001, he moved to New York to be the director of GlenArbor Golf Club. This club allowed him to play in eight PGA Championships.
He defied all odds to win his place on the PGA Tour Champions last fall . He was a medalist at Q-School and was so happy he cried. Gary Player and Tom Watson called Labritz to express their gratitude.
Next came the hard part: Proving that he was a member of his family.
Labritz has three top-10 finishes in 24 starts. This includes a tie for fourth at the U.S. Senior Open. Labritz moved up to the 36th spot in the Charles Schwab Cup standings with that finish, but he fell to 40th when he finished T66 in the first playoff tournament two weeks ago.
Labritz said, “That was a bummer since I could have secured my spot,” and has earned $531913. “I am sure I belong, but I also recognize that there are areas in my game I need to improve.”
Labritz is 17,000 points behind No. 36 Mike Weir enters the TimberTech Championship. Labritz will need to earn $9,000 more this week to surpass the four other players in the playoffs.
Labritz has many things going for him this week. He loves Florida, and because the TimberTech Championship moved this year to Royal Palm while the regular course at Broken Sound is being renovated, Labritz can’t see the rest of his years of course knowledge.
He has never played this course before. Saucon Valley, where he was fourth in the U.S. Senior Open.
He said, “Darn right, Florida plays in our favor.” I’ll keep it up. You know me, I have a flair to the dramatic.
His journey is not over.