Thanks largely to a runner-up finish at the British Masters early in the summer, Colorado native Gunner Wiebe will retain DP World Tour card for 2023-24 season
By Gary Baines – 10/30/2023
Gunner Wiebe just wrapped up his first season on the DP World Tour. But, despite some sweating it out this fall, it won’t be his last.
Wiebe, the 2010 CGA Player of the Year who grew up in Colorado and graduated from Kent Denver, finished 110th on Sunday in the season-long 2023 Race to Dubai Rankings. And with the top 116 as of the end of the Qatar Masters earning full-playing privileges on the DP World Tour for next season, Wiebe will be sticking around.
The 2010 CGA Match Play champion can thank his performance on one particular week this year for largely securing his status for next season.
Wiebe scored 479.66 ranking points in his rookie season of 2022-23, and 369 of those points came via a runner-up finish in the Betfred British Masters in early July. That showing earned him a spot in the British Open — his first major championship — where he missed the cut. Aside from the British Masters, Wiebe’s best performances — position-wise — were an 18th place and a 17th place late last fall to begin his season. In September, he finished 33rd in the Horizon Irish Open, which drew a strong field.
The DP World Tour, formerly known as the European Tour, has two events left in its season, but only 66 players earn spots in the penultimate Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa Nov. 9-12. The Qatar Masters that ended on Sunday marked the final counting event of the regular season.
Wiebe has had quite a journey in his pro career.
He played many state opens, events on lower-level tours, and tried Monday qualifying for a lot of PGA and Korn Ferry Tour tournaments. Just last year, the now-Phoenix resident tied for sixth place in the Inspirato Colorado Open, marking his fourth top-six finish in the event since 2010. He placed second overall in the Colorado Open as an amateur 13 years ago.
Over the years, Wiebe has competed in five PGA Tour events — making his first cut last year by placing 47th in the Barbasol Championship — and five Korn Ferry tournaments. He was a regular on PGA Tour Latinoamerica from 2013-15, competing in 35 events in those three years and recording three top-10 finishes.
But a nasty arm injury sustained about seven years ago derailed his dream of playing on a big-time tour — at least for the time being.
In 2016 over Memorial Day weekend just south of Tijuana, Mexico, Wiebe suffered a potentially life-threatening injury that turned out to be “only” very serious. While moving luggage into a vacation home, Wiebe didn’t realize that a sliding-glass door had been closed. He walked right through it, and the single-pane, non-tempered glass shattered. In addition to cutting Wiebe’s hand — through not too severely — the underside of his upper right arm was sliced very, very deeply.
After the stitches were in for 13 days, Wiebe developed a staph infection. Following an extended rehab, Wiebe finally began making full swings of a golf club six weeks after the accident. But while he competed on and off for a while longer in 2016, it wasn’t the same.
“I never thought I’d play again,” Wiebe said in 2021. “I was very confident that that was it and I would always live with frustration and a little bit of resentment of not being able to leave on my terms.”
After a stint working in finance, Wiebe spent three years as an assistant pro at Bel-Air Country Club in Los Angeles. During that time as a club pro, Wiebe won the national title in the 2020 National Car Rental Assistant PGA Professional Championship after claiming victory in both the 2019 and ’20 Southern California Assistant PGA Professional Championships.
That national title helped whet Wiebe’s appetite to return to playing full time again, and he did just that starting in the late spring of 2021.
After coming up short in Korn Ferry Tour Q-school both in 2021 and ’22, Wiebe came up big in DP World Q-school late in the summer and fall of 2022. He finished 20th in the second stage in Alicante, Spain on Nov. 6, and placed 13th in the final stage shortly thereafter.
About the Writer: Gary Baines has covered golf in Colorado continuously since 1983. He was a sports writer at the Daily Camera newspaper in Boulder, then the sports editor there, and has written regularly for ColoradoGolf.org since 2009. He was inducted into the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame in 2022. He owns and operates ColoradoGolfJournal.com