With only two tournaments left to the PGA season, including this weekend’s Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospital for Children Open in Las Vegas, players are scrambling to find a way to continue playing next season.
At the end of each year, the top 125 money-winners on the PGA Tour receive a tour card for the following season, which gives them exemption from qualifying. The year’s top money-winner overall gets a five-year exemption.
With either Tiger Woods or Vijay Singh holding the title over the bulk of the last ten years, that distinction hasn’t been much of an issue. However this season, with the chaos that has been Tiger’s life, he stands at No. 65 on the money list, with $1.3 million earned, and Singh is three spots lower, with $1.25 million earned.
That leaves Matt Kuchar in a position to gain a full five-year exemption on tour. Not bad for a guy who was playing on the Nationwide Tour just four years ago. Jim Furyk, the FedEx Cup championship, is in second and trails by just $100,000, but is not entered in this weekend’s tournament.
Furyk has already gained a five-year exemption due to his FedEx Cup victory, so Kuchar is sitting in a very sweet position right now.
Several players who are on the bubble are entered in the Timberlake this weekend, and current first-round co-leader Robert Garrigus, who shot a 7-under 64 today, greatly helped his cause, as he sits at No. 118 on the money list.
On the other hand, Michael Allen, sitting at No. 123 on the money list, shot a miserable opening round of 76 today and withdrew from the tournament, greatly damaging his chances of earning an exemption.
As play moves on this weekend in Vegas, players will be playing the odds and gambling on their futures, although the high risk/high reward factor is the major payoff.
Follow Doug on Twitter, @Sports_A_Holic.
UPDATE: http://the19thholereport.com/pga-tour-the-scramble-for-top-125-down-to-two-tournaments/174468/ Oct 21 2010