2013 PGA Championship field: Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson headline qualifiers for Oak Hill

Streeter Lecka

While it's always ranked as the fourth major, many argue that the PGA Championship has the deepest field of any golf tournament all year. Here's your 2013 field.

The PGA Championship often gets short shrift when it comes to the majors, and it holds a consensus ranking as the fourth and least prestigious of the group. The season's final major takes a beating, but at least they've done away with the dopey "glory's last shot" slogan. Despite that lesser standing, it's often argued that the PGA has the deepest field of the PGA Tour season, with almost every top player in the world, and those in the best recent form, gobbling up invites.

It can be confusing, but the PGA Championship is run by the PGA of America, which is unaffiliated with the PGA Tour. One consists of the golf pros who give lessons and sell sweaters in the pro shop at local courses and clubs, while the other is dedicated to the weekly millionaire touring pros. They're all considered pros, but they're in a different stratosphere with separate organizations advocating on their behalf. The PGA Tour actually does not have control of or directly receive the profits from any of the four majors, or the Ryder Cup (the PGA of America's other marquee event).

With that distinction in mind, the PGA of America reserves 20 spots out of the 156 available for club pros. Unlike the two Opens, there is no local or sectional qualifying, but the PGA Professional National Championship, held each year in June does serve as a qualifying event for club pros. This year's event was at Sunriver in Oregon, with a bit of drama coming late as Rob LaBritz sank a 95-yard wedge shot in a playoff to earn one of the final spots in the field.

Labritz will transition from that shot and head out in the first group off No. 1 tee on Thursday morning, playing alongside international talents John Senden and Shane Lowry.

While there will be 20 relatively unheard of pros in the field, this is the one major that does not extend invitations to amateurs. It's antiquated now, but golf amateurs were often held in higher regard than the professionals -- the amateurs being wealthy businessmen who played golf recreationally, while the pros, such as Byron Nelson, were out on the road trying to scrap together a living. So you won't hear the amateur game romanticized here in the way it is at the stuffier Masters and U.S. Open. Here are the 20 qualifiers this year from Sunriver -- you've likely never heard of these guys, but maybe you've gotten lessons from a "Caine" or "Sonny":

20 Club Pro Qualfiers from PGA PNC
Anderson, JC Perry, Rod
Balin, Danny Polzin, Ryan
Brown, Mark Rhind, Lee
Fitzgerald, Caine Sheftic, Mark
Gaus, Bob Skinner, Sonny
Hanefeld, Kirk Small, Mike
Labritz, Rob Smith, Stuart
Martin, Jeff Sorenson, Jeff
McNabb, David Sowards, Bob
Muttitt, David Sullivan, Chip

Those 20 players are all better than scratch golfers, but most won't see the weekend at Oak Hill and the first page of the leaderboard will be made up of the other 136 players who earned exemptions largely through their success on the millionaires' touring circuits. The PGA of America incorporates some of the same exemptions used at the other majors, but also adds their own qualification methods in building up their field. Here are the ways the touring pros gain entry (via PGA.com):

• All former PGA Champions
• Winners of the last five Masters
• Winners of the last five U.S. Opens
• Winners of the last five Open Championships
• The 2013 Senior PGA Champion
• The 15 low scorers and ties in the 2012 PGA Championship
• The 70 leaders from the PGA Championship Points list from the 2012 World Golf Championships- Bridgestone Invitational through the 2013 RBC Canadian Open ending July 28, 2013.
• Members of the 2012 United States and European Ryder Cup Teams providing they remain within the top 100 of the World Golf Rankings as of July 12, 2013.
• Winners of PGA Tour events from the 2012 PGA Championship to the 2013 PGA Championship

In addition to those exemptions, the PGA of America can fill up vacancies to get to the 156 number by selecting golfers who played their way onto a list of alternates, and they can also just go ahead and extend special invites to anyone they please (for example, next year's Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson). David Hearn and Matt Jones were the two golfers who made it off the alternate list this year, while the PGA also decided to throw out a couple late invites to young guns Brooks Koepka and Peter Uihlein.

The most stress-free way to get in the field is by winning, which secures that lifetime invite. Here are the former winners of the season's last major, including several -- Beem, Brooks, Harrington, Micheel, Singh, Toms, and Yang -- who cashed in that lifetime pass and would not be in attendance save for their past win (somwhere, Bob May weeps):

Past PGA Champs (Lifetime invite)
Rich Beem (2002)
Keegan Bradley (2011)
Mark Brooks (1996)
Padraig Harrington (2008)
Davis Love III (1997)
Martin Kaymer (2010)
Rory McIlroy (2012)
Shaun Micheel (2003 at Oak Hill)
Phil Mickelson (2005)
Vijay Singh (1998, 2004)
David Toms (2001)
Tiger Woods (1999, 2000, 2006, 2007)
Y.E. Yang (2009)

With all 20 club pros hailing from the United States, more than half the field, 85 players, are playing under the flag of the USA. That's a huge number, but as you'd expect at a major, the field is loaded with all the top international talent. Louis Oosthuizen, who announced last week that he would be on the shelf for two months, is the one big international not in attendance. Here's the rest of this year's field (not including aforementioned club pros and past champions):

Player Country of Origin
Aphibarnrat, Kiradech Thailand
Austin, Woody United States
Bae, Sang-Moon South Korea
Beljan, Charlie United States
Bjorn, Thomas Denmark
Blixt, Jonas Sweden
Brown, Scott United States
Cabrera, Angel Argentina
Cabrera-Bello, Rafael Spain
Casey, Paul England
Castro, Roberto United States
Chappell, Kevin United States
Choi, K.J. South Korea
Cink, Stewart United States
Clark, Tim South Africa
Clarke, Darren N. Ireland
Coetzee, George South Africa
Colsaerts, Nicolas Belgium
Curtis, Ben United States
Day, Jason Australia
De Jonge, Brendon United States
Delaet, Graham Canada
Donald, Luke England
Donaldson, Jamie Wales
Dufner, Jason United States
Duke, Ken United States
Els, Ernie South Africa
English, Harris United States
Ernst, Derek United States
Every, Matt United States
Fernandez-Castano, Gonzalo Spain
Fowler, Rickie United States
Fraser, Marcus Australia
Fujita, Hiroyuki Japan
Furyk, Jim United States
Gainey, Tommy United States
Gallacher, Stephen Scotland
Garcia, Sergio Spain
Garrigus, Robert United States
Gay, Brian United States
Glover, Lucas United States
Grace, Branden South Africa
Guthrie, Luke United States
Haas, Bill United States
Hanson, Peter Sweden
Hearn, David Canada
Henley, Russell United States
Hoffman, Charley United States
Horschel, Billy United States
Howell III, Charles United States
Huh, John United States
Idoki, Kohki Japan
Ilonen, Mikko Finland
Ishikawa, Ryo Japan
Jacobson, Freddie Sweden
Jaidee, Thongchai Thailand
Jamieson, Scott Scotland
Jimenez, Miguel Spain
Johnson, Dustin United States
Johnson, Zach United States
Jones, Matt Australia
Kirk, Chris United States
Koepka, Brooks United States
Kokrak, Jason United States
Kuchar, Matt United States
Laird, Martin Scotland
Larrazabal, Pablo Spain
Lawrie, Paul Scotland
Leishman, Marc Australia
Lingmerth, David Sweden
Lowry, Shane Ireland
Luiten, Joost Netherlands
Lynn, David England
Mahan, Hunter United States
Manassero, Matteo Italy
Matsuyama, Hideki Japan
McDowell, Graeme N. Ireland
McGinley, Paul Ireland
Merrick, John United States
Molinari, Francesco Italy
Moore, Ryan United States
Noren, Alex Sweden
Ogilvy, Geoff Australia
Olesen, Thorbjorn Denmark
Palmer, Ryan United States
Pettersson, Carl Sweden
Piercy, Scott United States
Points, D.A. United States
Poulter, Ian England
Ramsay, Richie Scotland
Rose, Justin England
Rumford, Brett Australia
Schwartzel, Charl South Africa
Scott, Adam Australia
Senden, John Australia
Siem, Marcel Germany
Simpson, Webb United States
Snedeker, Brandt United States
Spieth, Jordan United States
Stadler, Kevin United States
Stallings, Scott United States
Stanley, Kyle United States
Stenson, Henrik Sweden
Sterne, Richard South Africa
Streelman, Kevin United States
Stricker, Steve United States
Stroud, Chris United States
Teater, Josh United States
Thompson, Michael United States
Uihlein, Peter United States
Van Pelt, Bo United States
Van Zyl, Jaco South Africa
Walker, Jimmy United States
Warren, Marc Scotland
Watney, Nick United States
Watson, Bubba United States
Watson, Tom United States
Weekley, Boo United States
Westwood, Lee England
Wiesberger, Bernd Austria
Willett, Danny England
Wood, Chris England
Woodland, Gary United States

The 156-man field will be split up into 52 groups of three and the PGA will utilize split tees at Oak Hill before the cut is made. With a field of this size, there are some significant challenges ensuring that everyone gets around the course and plays 36 holes before the weekend. As we saw at Merion in June, some inclement weather can force organizers to spend two-plus days catching up from just a two or three-hour rain delay.

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