The sponsor exemption Ryan Vermeer received for next week’s Pinnacle Bank Championship is extraordinary.
It went through the highest ranks of the Web.com Tour administration.
PBC executives sought the exemption for Vermeer after the Omaha golf pro won the PGA Professional Championship last month for a spot in next month’s PGA Championship.
“Ryan has been a longtime friend of the Web.com Tour and the Pinnacle Bank Championship,” Tournament Director Jessica Brabec said. “Ryan is playing maybe the best golf of his life and we are thrilled to have him in our field.”
Web.com, the tour’s umbrella sponsor, in each tournament can issue one sponsor exemption — “subject to the approval of the Commissioner or his designee” — according to the tour’s player handbook.
Vermeer said he’s honored to receive the spot in the 156-man field. And “extremely excited” not to have to try to qualify Monday, as he successfully did last year.
“I’ve been through that enough,” said the Millard South grad, who’s the director of instruction at Happy Hollow Club.
Vermeer played in five Cox Classics — the predecessor to the PBC — from 2000 to 2008. His best finish was a tie for 18th in 2001, when he was a full-time tour member.
Last year in the PBC, after shooting 76 in the first round, he began the second round with birdies on his first three holes and shot 4-under 32 on the front nine. But two shots in the water on the par-4 12th led to a quadruple-bogey 8. He finished at 71 for the round and 5-over for the tournament.
“I’m excited to get back out there,” Vermeer said. “Indian Creek is one of the best courses in Omaha and in Nebraska for that matter. With the PGA (at Bellerive near St. Louis) playing at 7,400 yards, preparing for it at a place like Indian Creek is awesome.”
After the PGA, Vermeer can play in six PGA Tour events during the 2018-19 season as a result of his PGA Pro title.