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Charley Hoffman earns trip to The Genesis Invitational via finish at TPC Scottsdale

4 Min Read

Aon Better Decisions


WM Phoenix Open performance vaults Hoffman into Aon Swing 5

    Written by Paul Hodowanic @PaulHodowanic

    Charley Hoffman will have to postpone his ski vacation. He earned a trip to The Riviera Country Club instead.

    It was a moment of delight in an otherwise stoic post-round press conference. Coming off a gut-wrenching playoff loss to Nick Taylor at the WM Phoenix Open Sunday, Hoffman spoke eloquently about his desire to become one of the best players in the world. To put himself in contention again. To get into the Signature Events. Little did he know, his runner-up finish earned enough FedExCup points to qualify for next week’s The Genesis Invitational via the Aon Swing 5.

    “That’s moved you in,” a PGA TOUR communications official told Hoffman.

    “Did it?” Hoffman said, showing a smile that had been absent as he answered the first four questions from reporters. “That’s awesome. I'm excited about that. I guess I'm playing next week and not going skiing.”

    Hoffman, Grayson Murray, Christiaan Bezuidenhout and Kevin Yu clinched four of the spots as the top FedExCup points earners across the last four Full-Field Events — the Sony Open in Hawaii, The American Express, the Farmers Insurance Open and the WM Phoenix Open — not otherwise exempt. Matthieu Pavon earned the fifth spot, though the Frenchman did not commit to play in The Genesis Invitational. As a result, Justin Thomas, who finished sixth in the Aon Swing 5 standings, received the final spot.

    But it’s Hoffman who highlights the group. After missing The Genesis Invitational in 2023 for the first time in 16 years, the California native will return thanks to his play at the WM Phoenix Open. It was a throwback performance from the 47-year-old, a reminder that Hoffman was once one of the most consistent golfers in the world. He made the FedExCup Playoffs in 15 straight seasons and racked up more than $30 million in career earnings. He won four times on the PGA TOUR from 2007 to 2016.

    The eight-year drought nearly snapped Sunday at TPC Scottsdale. If not for Taylor catching fire, birdieing five of the last six holes he played, the drought would have ended in fitting fashion – Hoffman, famous for his WM sponsorship, winning the WM Phoenix Open.

    Nick Taylor makes birdie on the first playoff hole at WM Phoenix Open

    Hoffman will continue searching for that win, but he’s found his game. Hoffman shot 64-64 on the weekend to finish runner-up. He fired a back-nine 32 on Sunday, including a highlight eagle on the par-5 13th that gave Hoffman the lead. He added birdies on 14 and 15 to remain at the top. He holed a birdie putt on the first playoff hole to keep the tournament alive. Hoffman did not lose the tournament. Taylor won it.

    Charley Hoffman makes birdie on the first playoff hole at WM Phoenix Open

    Hoffman earned 300 FedExCup points with the finish and jumped to 25th in the standings, his highest rank since September 2021. He finished outside the top 125 in the last two seasons.

    “I didn't really falter, so I've got to give Nick credit,” Hoffman said. “ I love the juices. I love competing. This builds a little fire in the belly. I definitely want to be back here.”

    His next chance is an unexpected one at Riviera. He didn’t think he would be there but never gave up hope. This winter, he asked Tiger Woods for a sponsor exemption, but they were all taken.

    “So I said, I'll play my way in,” Hoffman said. “I guess I did.”

    He’s not the only one.

    Murray won the Sony Open in Hawaii to comfortably finish in the Aon Swing 5, with Bezuidenhout finishing runner-up at The American Express to grab another spot. Yu notched a T3 at The American Express and a T6 at the Farmers Insurance Open to earn his second Signature Event start of the season. He finished T58 at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

    Thomas snuck into the final spot with a strong back-nine on Sunday of the WM Phoenix Open. Thomas birdied No. 13, 15 and 17 to card a 3-under round of 68, jump up into a tie for 12th and edge out Stephan Jaeger in the standings.

    The 70-player field at Riviera includes 49 of the top 50 on the 2023 FedExCup, Nos. 51-60 on the 2023 FedExCup Fall standings, the top finisher on the 2023 Race to Dubai not otherwise exempt (Nicolai Højgaard), the Aon Swing 5, tournament winners not otherwise exempt (Nick Dunlap) and four sponsor exemptions. Pavon and Justin Rose are the only golfers who are eligible but not in the field.

    Here’s how the points broke down for the Aon Swing 5 and who narrowly missed:

    1. Matthieu Pavon, 598.56 points (does not intend to play The Genesis Invitational)
    2. Grayson Murray, 500.00 points
    3. Christiaan Bezuidenhout, 323.96 points
    4. Charley Hoffman, 315.65 points
    5. Kevin Yu, 236.67 points
    6. Justin Thomas, 205.67 points
    7. Stephan Jaeger, 195.75 points
    8. Jake Knapp, 171.91 points
    9. Keith Mitchell, 145.42 points
    10. Nate Lashley, 145.00 points

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