Hello friends, supporters, and fellow golf lovers,
I cannot believe it is over. Thank you so much for your support during a special 2023 season! We are officially headed to the PGA Tour! In this post, I want to share with you a little bit about the PGA Tour card awards ceremony and what to expect heading into the 2024 PGA Tour season. But first, let’s wrap up the 2023 BirdiesforHope Season!
Season Birdie Total: 325
2023 yielded lots of BirdiesforHope and therefore lots of donations to bring hope around the world. To those who signed up, it’s now time to fulfill that pledge!
I have donated $10 for every birdie I made this year. That ends up being $3,250 donated. Will you join me with any amount you feel comfortable donating?
If you would like to fulfil your pledge, or simply donate to BirdiesforHope, please click HERE.
Update – Puerto Del Cielo Church
Recently, we announced that the Puerto Del Cielo Church in Panama is fully funded and nearly constructed! Thanks to your help, we have helped to answer prayers in Central America of the 100 members and 60 children of this church! This church will be teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ and eternal life through Him. They also will be serving their community each and every day of the week, providing food for the hungry, education for those who desire it, and serving other needs as they see fit.
Our newest church project -- San Rafael Church
I am also happy to announce our newest and 9th church project, the San Rafael Church project back in Colombia. The San Rafael church congregation has been attempting to build a place to call home since 1995. From this building they will be serving their community day in and day out. They have acquired the land and have the labor to build it. What we are helping to do by working with ICM (International Cooperating Ministries) is to partner with this congregation and provide supplies/ building materials/ expertise. This church has a membership of 60 adults, 10 children, and speak the Spanish language.
Typically, donations tend to flow in this time of year as people fulfil their pledges. Be ready for more updates soon and possibly more projects!
Thank you again for your kindness and generosity. These churches are spreading the Gospel, the greatest Hope the world has ever known. And these churches actively serve their communities each day of the week. They are town gathering places, hospitals for the sick, schools for children, education for adults, and even orphanages for children with nowhere to go. Because of your kindness, we have helped to build 9 of these buildings. Thank you
It is truly a dream come true to say I am officially a member of the PGA Tour. Our final three events took place in Nashville, TN, Ohio State, Ohio, and Evansville, Indianna.
I didn’t play great in Nashville and Ohio State. It was a long, emotional season and I believe it simply caught up with me. With a week off before Evansville, Indiana, I was able to work hard and get my game to a manageable place.
Tour Championship – Evansville, IN
Conditions during the Tour Championship in Evansville, Indiana perfectly encapsulated the Korn Ferry Tour season. Monday-Wednesday was hot and muggy, with temperatures reaching the upper 80’s. Thursday, the first round, brought drenching rain the entire round. Friday was beautiful, with highs in the low 70’s without a cloud in sight. Then Saturday and Sunday rolled in with a cold front. Real feel temperatures were in the 30’s to start the rounds, with wind blowing 15-20 mph.
I did not start the tournament well. Victoria National provides a comprehensive, brutal test of ones' golf game. Constructed out of an abandoned mine, the golf course is framed by water, or massive lost-ball ditches framing every fairway and green. One mentally wayward shot and you were slapped with a 2 shot penalty, having to retry the very same shot!
In the drenching rain, I did not know where the ball was going. Five over through 6 holes and 6 over through 14 holes, I felt like I had been kicked in the gut. But, as my family always says, “Stanger’s never give up.” I birdied my last three holes on the day.
The rest of the week I fought without my A-game. Or my B-game. I am not even sure I had my C-game. At any given time, I knew I could hit a big miss, and I did not exactly know in which direction. (This is often called Army Golf…. Left, Right, Left, Right…). Even though I had already locked up my tour card, I badly wanted to conquer some demons on this golf course from my 5 years prior. I fought all week, and slowly crawled my way back shooting a few under every day to finish the tournament at even par, tied for 30th place. It was certainly not my best finish, but considering the game I had I was proud of it.
The Card Ceremony
After finishing my 4th round in Evansville, the card ceremony commenced. This was cool.
On the 18th green overlooking what felt like an ocean of water, the Tour set up 30 chairs for the 30 PGA Tour cards given. I officially finished 15th on the season long points list. On each chair rested a hat with the letters, “TOURBound” on the front, and my caddie Bib from the season. Next to these chairs sat large letters filled with small lights, projecting the same words “TOURBOUND” on them. Hundreds of fans, families, and friends surrounded the 18th green in the grandstands and on the amphitheater style grass.
After lining us up in order of the season points list, they called us one by one. It felt like high school graduation, with one major difference: only 30 people in the entire world (plus maybe 15 through other means) could say they graduated to the PGA tour in 2023.
After calling our name, we walked up, shook Commissioner Monahan’s hand, and officially received our PGA Tour Card. Yes, it’s an actual card made of bronze with our name on it. It said, “Jimmy Stanger, PGA Tour Member.” After having our photo taken, we grabbed a glass of champaign and sat down.
The Commissioner then gave a brief speech congratulating us and asking us to gather behind the “TOURBOUND” sign. In classic graduating-class fashion, we threw our hats into the air. Mine may have landed in the old mining pond aligning the 18th green, along with about 50 golf balls from earlier that week. Family and friends were invited onto the green and we took pictures with them and other players. It was a special day that I will never forget. I am beyond grateful to be a member of the PGA Tour.
What to expect on the PGA Tour in 2024?
The 2024 season officially begins at the Sony Open in Hawaii on January 11-14th. I will follow that up with the American Express Classic in Palm Springs, CA and the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in San Diego, CA. However, just because I am a member of the PGA Tour does not mean I am currently exempt for every event on the PGA Tour.
In 2024, the PGA Tour has begun its calendar year schedule. In addition to the major championships, the PGA Tour has set up a select number of “Signature” events. These events are limited field, no cut events meant to pair the best players in the world against each other more often. I am not yet in these events. Like every other player in those fields, I will have to earn my way into those fields from how I play the “Full field” events. I should be exempt to play in nearly every single full field event in 2024.*
*(Due to the new schedule, no one is exactly sure how the tournament fields will play out. There is a chance I will not be exempt for some full field events, or I may be exempt for more than I expect!)
I am most excited to get an entire year to test my game against the best in the world, on the best golf courses in the world. A few events are highlighted on my calendar. The Valspar Championship, my home event in Tampa Florida, will be a blast. I am also excited for the chance to qualify for the Players Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. I would also love to make the Fed-Ex Cup playoffs which means finishing in the top 70 on the points list.
Thank you so much for following along and supporting me. If you have any questions about the 2024 PGA Tour schedule, or how to watch and follow me next year, please reach out and I will try to answer them in my next update.
Thank you all again for your support of me, and of BirdiesforHope. It means so much to me. Who knows where the Lord will take us in 2024!