The top 125 players at the end of each season in the FedEx Cup standings retain their PGA tour card for the following season and advance to the FedEx Cup playoffs.
Some players on tour who finish outside the top 125 will retain their tour card as exemptions are granted with tournament victories, but finishing in the top 125 is critical for most players.
The last event of the PGA Tour regular season was the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, North Carolina, and for some golfers, it was a make or break tournament. For some, just inside the top 125 pre-tournament, it was a nervous few days trying to secure a finish that would secure next year’s card and a place in the lucrative FedEx Cup playoffs. For others, it was a chance to claw themselves into one of the coveted positions.
Chesson Hadley did just that. He started play on Thursday seven places outside the top 125 in 132nd position. Still, he grabbed the final slot from Juston Rose after a late three-putt bogey from the Englishman and a sensational eight-under-par 62 Sunday from Hadley, including a hole in one at the 16th and a birdie on the final regular hole of the season that made absolutely all of the difference.
Rose began the final round at the Wyndham Championship 10-under-par and five shots off Russell Henley’s lead, but he had a share of the lead after two birdies and a fantastic eagle in the first five holes.
Rose sunk two further birdies at the 10th and the 13th but cancelled those out with bogies at the 7th and 14th.
Rose was hanging in there, comfortably in position to not only finish in the top 125 and progress to next week’s playoff but also in contention for the tournament at 15-under-par approaching the 18th, just one shot off the lead. Rose though three-putted the 18th and not only dropped to a 13-under-par tie for 10th place but also (Following Hadley’s strong finish, including a birdie on the 18th) dropped to 126th in the FedEx Cup standings for the season.
Rose’s bogey on the 18th was costly; he missed out on a six-man playoff between Kevin Na, Adam Scott, Si-Woo Kim, Roger Sloan, Branden Grace and the eventual winner Kevin Kisner by only two shots.
Despite Rose missing out on the playoffs, he won’t lose his PGA Tour card; he has tour exemption through 2023-24, thanks to a WGC victory.
“That’s kind of what the Playoffs is all about, right?” Rose said. “It’s a knife-edged moment. I’ve been on the winning side at East Lake, where a bogey was costly, and a birdie got me back into the projected No. 1 spot, so I’ve been on the right side of it and maybe on the wrong side today. Yeah, it’s not nice when it’s not in your hands, but obviously, it was in my hands up 18. I didn’t do a very good job of that.”
Rickie Fowler (seen top of page) was the name alongside Rose that caught the most attention when looking at those who have missed out on this year’s FedEx Playoffs.
After missing the cut for the 9th time this season at Sedgefield Country Club, Fowler was asked tentatively by a PGA Tour media official if he could please ‘just give us a comment on just coming up a little bit short of the goal for the season?” “Yeah, I wouldn’t say it was a little bit short; it was a lot of a bit short,” Fowler replied after a bit of contemplation and with the hint of a smile.
Fowler recorded just one top-10 finish this season in the 24 events he entered and needed to finish 21st or better at the Wyndham Championship to advance to the playoffs, entering the week at number 130 in the standings. However, Fowler fell short of the required placing and misses out on the FedEx Cup playoffs for the first time in twelve years.
“Yeah, it sucks,” Fowler said. “I mean, I know what I’m capable of; I’ve been up there and played against the best in the world and been a top-5, top-10 player in the world for a number of years in my career. I’m not in a position where I’m comfortable or where I want to be.”
Like Rose, Fowler retains his Tour card despite missing out on the top 125 thanks to his Players win. The other two players of serious note to miss out but keep their PGA Tour card are Jimmy Walker and Francesco Molinari. Walker is exempt for next season only after his PGA victory at Baltusrol, and Molinari is safe through 2024-25 thanks to his Open Championship victory.