In transition year, PGA Tour to still award cards to top 125 on money list

  • Article by: DOUG FERGUSON , Associated Press
  • Updated: September 11, 2012 - 12:10 PM

CARMEL, Ind. - The PGA Tour money list will be relevant for at least one more year.

When the tour goes to a wraparound season next year, the original plan was for the top 125 who qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs to earn full cards for a new season that would begin in October 2013, just two weeks after the Tour Championship. The next 75 in the FedEx Cup join the top 75 players from the Web.com Tour for a three-event "Finals" that would determine 50 more cards.

That makes 2013 a short season — January until the middle of August to earn a card through the FedEx Cup. Previously, players outside the top 125 on the money list still had four Fall Series events to make up ground, as Rod Pampling and Sunghoon Kang did a year ago.

But there will be a reprieve.

The PGA Tour board has approved giving cards to the top 125 in the FedEx Cup and the top 125 on the money list next August. And, yes, there's a difference. David Mathis, for example, was No. 133 in the FedEx Cup and missed out on the playoffs. But he was No. 122 on the money list, so if that were the case next year, he would get a card.

Three others who missed the playoffs despite being in the top 125 on the money list were Brendan Steele, Jhonattan Vegas and Retief Goosen.

"Typically, what we've found in researching this is there's an average of a six- to seven-player difference in the two lists," said Andy Pazder, the tour's chief of operations. "Of the difference in the two lists, about half those folks have some higher status, such as a winner's exemption or medical exemption."

In this case, Steele and Vegas would have been exempt from winning the previous year.

"The net effect is somewhere between 128 and 129 getting their cards, so it doesn't have a huge impact," Pazder said.

Pazder said the short season in 2013 was behind the board's decision, at least for one year of the transition to a FedEx Cup system. He said the board will review whether to keep both lists after next year.

The lesson for players going forward? Consistency, no matter how mediocre, is rewarded over one or two big weeks.

Vegas tied for seventh at The Players Championship and tied for fourth at the AT&T National, accounting for 74 percent of his earnings this year. He also missed 11 cuts, and had only two other finishes in the top 40. One of those was Tournament of Champions at Kapalua, where he finished last among 27 players.

Steele tied for fifth in Phoenix and tied for fourth at the Texas Open, which accounted for 66 percent of his earnings. He missed nine cuts and had only two other finishes in the top 40 — a tie for eighth in Reno and 25th place in the 27-man field at Kapalua.

On the other side was Heath Slocum, who was 124th in the FedEx Cup when he went to The Barclays for the start of the playoffs. Slocum at the time was No. 142 on the money list. He didn't have a top 10 this year — his best was a tie for 13th in Mississippi and a tie for 15th in the Travelers Championship. He missed eight cuts, but he had nine finishes in the top 40.

___

MELANCHOLY MAHAN: Hunter Mahan won't be playing in the Ryder Cup for the first time since 2006. He might not be watching it, either.

"I don't think so," Mahan said when asked if he would watch the matches on television. "Being there, having gone through it ... it's tough to say that, too. You have so many friends on the team and you want them to do well. I don't feel good saying that, but I think it would be hard to sit and watch it. I'll watch the match results each game, at the end of each day."

Mahan, a two-time winner this year, missed qualifying by one spot and then was overlooked as one of the four captain's picks. He has played in the last two Ryder Cups, holing one of the most crucial putts at Valhalla and losing to Graeme McDowell in the final, decisive match at Wales.

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