Major Tour Finals changes midway through season


DUBLIN, Ohio – The PGA Tour has approved more sweeping changes to the Tour Finals just one year after the most significant overhaul of the qualifying system.

Beginning this season, the top 25 players from the regular season Tour money list will carry their money earned into the circuit’s four-event Finals, according to a memo sent to players on Thursday.

During the inaugural qualifying last year, the top 25 players were assured Tour cards but their money from the regular season didn’t carry over and their status the following season on the PGA Tour depended on how well they played in the Finals.

Many players balked at that format, saying it marginalized a player’s regular-season performance.

During last year’s Finals, for example, Kevin Tway began the four post-season events fifth on the regular-season money list, but didn’t finish better than 52nd in the last four events and was washed back to 46th on the priority list, which determines a player’s status on the PGA Tour.

During the 2013 Finals, which includes the top 75 players from the Tour money list and Nos. 126 to 200 off the PGA Tour money list, everyone started with no money and the 50 cards were awarded based on Finals performance, with the top 25 regular-season performers slotted in based on their pay.

Under the new system, which was approved by the PGA Tour policy board in April, the 50 players who earn Tour cards at this year’s Finals will be ordered using a “zippered” method, with priority based on an alternating order between the top 25 regular-season money earners and the leading players form the Finals.

For example, after the leading money winner off the combined regular season and Finals money list, the second card will go to the player with the most combined earnings from the regular season and Finals, followed by the player who earned the most only in the Finals, and so on.

Although the changes seem to be an attempt to give more weight to regular-season play, they have further complicated what was already a confusing system; and many players, who were not told about the impending changes, didn’t like the idea of such sweeping changes 10 events into a 21-event regular season.

“How can they change the system halfway through the year?” said one Tour player.