Why did notable pros lose their PGA Tour Card?

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The life of a professional golfer can be as cutthroat as any other professional sport. You get demoted to AAA ball if you aren’t cutting it in the MLB. In the NHL, players get sent to the AHL or ECHL if they aren’t playing up to standards. The NBA can use the G-League if situations require fine-tuning or demotion.

Regarding the PGA, players must meet a cutoff in their ranking system or risk losing their PGA Tour privileges. Such was the case for several PGA members last Sunday when they lost their PGA Tour Card for 2024.

Of the twelve players who failed to make the top 125 this season, U.S. Ryder Cup captain and two-time Major winner Zach Johnson are the most notable. Among his twelve PGA Tour victories, Johnson has claimed include the 2007 Masters and the 2015 Open Championship.

Other names on the list of players who will begin next season without full PGA Tour status and may impact your favorite golf sportsbook are Carl Yaun (who finished the year ranked 126th), Maverick McNealy (injured for half of the year), Jimmy Walker, Charley Hoffman, Harry Higgs, Doc Redman, Jason Dufner, Sean O’Hair, James Hahn, Nick Watney and Brandt Snedeker.

So, how do these dozen players lose their full privileges for next season? While the RSM Classic was once the final event of the calendar year, it now marks the end of the PGA season as the Tour reverted back to a calendar year schedule.

Before this season, a player’s PGA Tour status was made official following the Wyndham Championship, which took place in August. For the previous ten years, those who failed to meet the PGA mark had a second opportunity to punch their card for the following season by route of the Korn Ferry Tour Finals. However, under the new guidelines, only twenty cards remain on the Korn Ferry Tour.

All is not 100% lost for the aforementioned twelve individuals when it comes to the 2024 season, as some may choose, if the option is available, to rely on career money list exemptions or if such is the case, past champion status. If neither of those is the chosen path, the final would be to fight for one of five PGA Tour cards by battling a field of former, current, and future hopefuls during December’s PGA Tour Q-School.

Missing The Cut

However, all of the blame cannot come down to one event as there are other means to losing one’s PGA Tour card, including missing too many cuts throughout the season. By advancing to the weekend play of an event, players will have the opportunity to increase their FedEx Cup points but also earn a chance at various amounts of prize money.

Each tournament has a cut line that is determined by the number of participants and the difficulty level of the course. Poor performances during the first two rounds of the event using low driving accuracy, trouble on the greens, and lack of overall consistency, combined with external factors such as weather, course conditions, and nagging aches, pains, and injuries, can easily impact a player’s final results.

Load Management

Just like any other sport, the PGA Tour can be taxing on players both physically and mentally. Should a player need to step away from the Tour for an extended period, they could decide to give up their card until they are in a better state of health.

With PGA Tour events happening nearly every weekend, the job’s demands can be daunting, especially for those struggling with their game. Rather than constantly fail, some players have willingly handed in their cards to take time away from the game to improve their abilities.

Like other athletes, golfers now have multiple opportunities to participate in other business ventures or personal priorities that demand their attention.

While the loss of their tour card can be upsetting, it is not all doom and gloom for these PGA professionals as they will still have the opportunity to participate in several events. Still, they will likely have less flexibility in deciding which ones they want to attend and how many.

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