It’s a really important time of year for tournament professionals, especially the PGA Tour. Last week it was decided who was going to be playing next year on the PGA Tour and who wasn’t.
While the world is getting ready for the FedEx championships and then the Ryder Cup, the FedEx championships starting this week with the Northern Trust event, scant attention is paid to the guys who have just lost their job, or at the very least been demoted to the Korn Ferry tour where they will have to earn enough sheckles and Order of Merit points to regain their seat at the table at the very lucrative PGA Tour.
Now don’t feel overly sorry for these guys, the guy that I’m going to focus in on has won over $900,000 this year on the PGA Tour and his future 12 months was perilous to say the least.
Chesson Hadley started last week’s event comfortably outside the 125 position which left him in the unenviable position of having to have two flights out of North Carolina, one speculatively to New York where the Northern Trust championship is being played on the magnificent Liberty Golf Club, and the other was heading to the Korn Ferry Tour Championship event at Victoria National just outside of Evansville, Indiana.
If he plays well he has a shot at keeping his card and playing in the Northern Trust event; if he doesn’t he heads to Indiana to hopefully receive an immediate graduation from the Korn Ferry to the PGA Tour, having had a dual season playing both.
Stood on his 7th hole, already three under he fires a 9 iron to the par 3. The ball goes in the hole, his first ever hole in one is recorded and his celebration is really the stuff of legend. You need to have a look at it! His outward 9 was scored in 29 and his inward 9 was navigated in 33, making a very strong final round of 62.
At that stage he was easily leader in the clubhouse, yet had to wait a long time to find out which flight he was going to be taking that evening. He’d been informed, with about 30 minutes of play remaining, that he was unfortunately in 126th position. With that news he was resigned to flying into Indiana.
Then... on the final green Justin Rose 3 putts, which pushes Rose a little bit further down the leaderboard and allows Chesson to ascend one more place to 125th, his card now secure for 2022. Not to forget he’s gained entry into the most lucrative area of the tour schedule.
Incidentally, the 2018 FedEx champion, Justin Rose, lost his tour card this year due to that three putt. But will still be able to play in a few events due to his career and money earnings on the PGA Tour.
Fickle isn’t it? One year you are banking a cheque for over $10 million and are the champion of the series, three years on you’re all but relegated to division two. The same situation will occur on the European Tour this year but a little bit later on due to how the Race to Dubai works.
Other notable players outside of the 125th mark, and who are currently outside of the top 50 world ranked players are Francesco Molinari, Henrik Stenson, Danny Willett and Rickie Fowler. The bad news obviously is that they now have to rebuild their careers. The good news for followers of the European Tour - that’s where these guys are going to be headed for next year.
You never know, we might be watching them in the Portugal masters in 2022…