The final PGA TOUR stop of the calendar year marks the 2018 Sea Island Resort Member-Guest. Fifteen players in the field this week call Sea Island home, with more than that using the course as their main practice facility. Sea Island is to Jupiter as Seminole Golf Club is to Augusta National. Jupiter has all the flash and glamour of stars like Tiger, DJ, Brooks, Rickie, and Steve Marino, but Sea Island is no doubt as exclusive an Old Boy’s Club even though it is lesser known. The fraternity of Sigma Iota consists of President Davis Love III, Vice President Matt Kuchar, Secretary Zach Johnson, Members Harris English, Hudson Swafford, Brian Harmon, Patton Kizzire, Trey Mullinax, Charles Howell III, Jonathan Byrd, Chris Kirk, Lucas Glover, and PGA Tour Neophytes Keith Mitchell, JT Poston, and Joey Garber. They don’t have the resumes as the Jupiter clan, but that doesn’t stop them from shunning others from infiltrating their friend group.
For those that aren’t familiar with the vacation destination of South Georgia, there are four main cities in the area: Sea Island, St. Simons Island, Jekyll Island, and the mainland city Brunswick. Sea Island is like the private course, St. Simons is the TPC Course, Jekyll Island is the crowded muni course, and Brunswick is the interstate driving range. The field this week is broken up into who is staying at each of the four different locations.
The players this week that are enjoying the newly renovated foyer of the Cloister are the likes of Ernie Els, Webb Simpson, Jim Furyk, Retief Goosen, and Stewart Cink. Guys that have earned their way into the white table-clothed dinner tables. These consummate professionals are deserving of the fine hospitality and the entertainers that will serenade you with the finest rendition of “Just a Bowl of Butter Beans” you have ever heard.
Staying at the King and Prince across the bridge in St. Simons are rising stars like Luke List, Chesson Hadley, Joaquin Niemann and Patrick Rodgers. They may not be invited to the exclusive country club dinners, but they still have options like Southern Soul BBQ, Gnat’s Landing, and Crabdaddy’s, home of the best ranch in the South. Like the food on St. Simons, you can make the case that while the players in the upper level have the history, this group has all the talent. (Here’s an article from one of my other blogs GuyFieri.blogspot.com about Southern Soul BBQ.)
The Jekyll Island beach crowd is for the guys who quite haven’t made it, or have been around for a while but never crossed the threshold into contender. Guys like CPO favorites Tom Hoge and Jimmy Hard K, who both no doubt will go on the beach at some point this week and claim it really isn’t that cold because they are from some of the coldest places in the world. There is nothing wrong with Jekyll Island. And to be able to go there is a treat. However, for guys like Ben Crane, Hunter Mahan, and Brian Gay who have either stayed over at a friend’s house at Sea Island (Golf Boys) or who owned condos in St. Simons (B. Gay), Jekyll Island is a step in the wrong direction. Jose de Jesus Rodriguez also belongs in this group because his nickname is Camaron, which when translated to South Georgia is “Fried Shrimp Platter Substitute Extra Hushpuppies for Slaw).
The mainland group is for the rough crowd. They will travel from Brunswick to the public beach every now and then. But they’re driving in for the day in a lifted Ford Ranger, loaded down with coolers, boogie boards, games, but no chairs or umbrellas. They come in, drink their six tall boys, get sunburnt, and leave before the sun goes down. Guys like Alex Cejka, Brendon de Jonge, D.A. Points (you’re not invited to the islands if your name is two initials then an action verb), and James Driscoll.
Driscoll (who Monday qualified along with Danielle Kang’s brother, Daniel Kang) could be the first player to qualify for a PGA TOUR event with a mohawk. The residents of Sea Island are going to shit their Depends when this dude takes his hat off. He made headlines earlier this year when he showed up at the Traveler’s in complete deep sea fishing gear, facemask included.
This tournament seems like you have to make a ton of putts to be in contention here. Also I don’t think the Sea Island guys or friends of theirs will be in contention this week. There’s no way they can stay sober long enough to string together four solid rounds. Watch for gratuitous coverage of DL3, DL4, “Sea Island Mafia”, and talks of how Cameron Champ won’t be able to bomb it on this course as he bombs it on this course.