WESTLAKE, Ohio–If you’re looking to spot the next big name on the PGA Tour, you may be able to find him in Westlake this week.
The Web.com Tour has rolled into Northeast Ohio and the Cleveland Open is back for the first time in seven years.
“This is a lot closer to home, so it’s really nice for me to be able to come here and watch the professionals do what they do,” said James Main, a spectator at the Cleveland Open on Thursday.
156 golfers from 13 countries are in this week’s field, including 45 Web.com Tour winners, 16 PGA Tour winners, one Major winner and nine out of the top 10 players on the money list.
“It gives you a realistic picture of what’s ahead or behind you on the PGA Tour,” said Jim Stinner of Allentown, PA.
The players are teeing it up this week at Lakewood Country Club in Westlake; it’s a 7,000 yard course, par 71.
“The course was playing tricky especially with the wind condition. It’s wet. It’s kind of playing long,” said Alex Cejka, a Web.com Tour golfer.
Golfers on the Web.com Tour are used to playing more resort-style courses, not country club style courses like the one in Westlake. In fact, many of the golfers said this is playing more like a golf course on the PGA Tour.
“It’s very different. Most of the ones we play are a lot more wide open with not much rough and this is very narrow with a lot of rough, so it’s nice. This is kind of closer to what you play on the PGA Tour. I feel like and it’s nice to have out here,” said Colt Knost, a Web.com Tour golfer.
Factor in the tough course and the cool and windy conditions Thursday morning and, as expected, birdies were hard to come by.
“This one has a lot of rough in it and the greens are pretty slick and if you miss it on the wrong side it’s very difficult to make up and down,” Cejka said.
Besides the names, the biggest difference between the PGA Tour and the Web.com as a spectator is your access.
“It’s different, because you can get up close and see the golfers up close and I’ve been at some of the big PGA tournaments like the Masters and it’s really hard to get close,” said Mary Anne Stinner.
Bubba Watson, Jason Dufner and Keegan Bradley are some of the alumni of the Web.com Tour.