Golf Open preview: Tour graduates out for redemption

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The 2014-2015 PGA Tour season will begin Thursday at the Open, as 154 players try to get things off on the right foot. With the Tour finals concluding last month, there are 50 tour graduates all raring to go.

Although all of these players are considered “graduates”, more than a few of them have previously played on the PGA Tour, and will be returning this year. In fact, at one time, some of these graduates were excelling on tour.

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For whatever reason, they hit a wall or caught the “shanks” and had to go back to the Tour to reclaim their cards. Lets take a closer look at some of the players who have emerged from the Tour finals and are back for redemption.

Familiar faces

One name you probably know is Colt Knost. Knost has spent his fair share of time on the PGA Tour. Between 2011 and 2013, he played in over 25 events each year, finishing in third place twice.

In each of these seasons, the 2007 US Amateur champion struggled, missing at least 14 cuts each year. After a shaky 2013 season where he made less than $200,000 dollars, he was forced to play on the Tour this past season before recently getting back his card.

Golden oldies

Another guy to watch out for is Jason Gore, one of this year’s older graduates at the age of 40. Since 1997, it has been a bit of a bumpy road for Gore who has played a lot of professional golf both on the PGA Tour and Tour.

In 2005, Gore had his biggest accomplishment winning the 84 Lumber Classic. He followed that up by being a consistent member of the PGA tour from 2006 – 2009. After 09’ though, Gore spent a lot of time on the tour until finally breaking through this year finishing in 10th place overall after the Tour finals.

Health Slocum is also another oldie who had to play in this year's Tour finals. Different from Knost and Gore, Slocum has been a very consistent member on the PGA Tour for the last 13 years.

He has won four PGA Tour events, and between 2004 and 2010, accumulated at least a million dollars in earnings each year. Slocum played in 23 events on the PGA Tour this year, but missed 11 cuts. However, the former University of South Alabama standout had no trouble at all retrieving his PGA Tour card, and will look to get back to his successful ways this week at the Open.

Former elites

One more guy to be on the lookout for is Sean O’Hair. This is one of those players that seemingly not too long ago, was thought to be one of the elite up-and-comers on the PGA Tour. He has played in at least 22 events every year since 2005, and has four victories, most recently the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

But the bad play can come just as quick as the good play. O’Hair was sub-par this season earning less than $500,000 in 25 events played. However, he went about his business at the Tour finals, and finished in 31st place, good enough to get back his card. At only 32 years old, O’Hair still has plenty of time to make his comeback

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