The PGA Tour journeyman from Lake Orion turns 50 in July and will have the same automatic Monday status as Werkmeister, via his pro career that included a tie for first with Jordan Spieth at the 2015 John Deere Classic before Spieth won the playoff. Gillis also earned runner up at the 2012 Honda Classic.
The former Oakland Community College golfer won the Michigan Open in 1994 and 2008, and the following year won the Nationwide Tour Players Cup. His PGA Tour career round low of 63 has been accomplished twice – at the 2010 Greenbriar Classic and the 2013 Byron Nelson Championship. He also earned a third-place finish in the 2011 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
Gillis and Werkmeister, who were competitors in college, were last paired together in the final round of the 2017 Michigan Open.
“It’s been nice the last year and a half to be home spending time with my kids, who are 10 and 12,” Gillis said. “It’s been pure joy to be around them all the time.
“It’s not going to be easy to get out there; it will be a challenge but it’s not going to be any bigger than what I’ve overcome along the way; pretty small compared to some of the mountains we’ve climbed in the 27 years doing this.”
Gillis’ first qualifying attempt will be the Senior British Open.