Web.com Tour priority ranking entering season finale

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Fifty players will leave the Web.com Tour Championship with PGA Tour cards for the upcoming season. How those players are determined, though, requires a little math and a lot of explanation.

This week’s event on Dye’s Valley Course at TPC Sawgrass is the fourth and final event of the Web.com Tour Finals. Players eligible for the Finals include Nos. 1-75 from the regular-season Web.com Tour money list, along with those who finished Nos. 126-200 in the FedEx Cup standings.

While 50 cards are up for grabs, 25 of them are already spoken for. The top 25 regular-season money earners from the Web.com Tour are all heading to the main circuit next season, though their priority ranking will be determined this week in Ponte Vedra Beach.

The remaining 25 cards will go to the top earners from the month-long Finals series, where Bud Cauley, Adam Hadwin and Justin Thomas won the first three events.

Although earning a card is the primary goal, a player's priority ranking will be a critical factor in forecasting his chances to succeed next season. The 50 graduates will be ranked from 1-50 based on earnings, and that ranking will be used to determine who gets into events during the first portion of the new season. The players with the highest rankings will likely get more starts, and the results from last season bear out that trend: six of the top 10 from the 2013 Finals priority ranking kept their PGA Tour cards, while none from Nos. 41-50 were able to retain full-time status.

In a change from last year, the top 25 regular-season Web.com earners were able to carry their earnings into the Finals rather than starting from scratch, lending greater emphasis on regular-season performance. Hence, the dollar figures for those 25 players represent their entire 2014 haul, while the others in the standings count simply the money they have won in the Finals.

The top two spots in the rankings go to the top overall earner (regular season plus Finals, currently Carlos Ortiz) and the top Finals earner (currently Hadwin). Each of the top two finishers will be fully exempt for next season and will receive a spot in the field at the 2015 Players Championship.

From there, the rankings alternate between players who began the Finals without a PGA Tour card (Cauley, Colt Knost, John Peterson) and those who had already earned a card by virtue of their Web.com Tour regular season earnings (Thomas, Andrew Putnam, Zack Sucher). The alternating format between the two categories is why Cauley, who has less Finals money than Thomas, is ranked No. 3, while Thomas is currently No. 4.

The race at the bottom is a tight one, as Patrick Rodgers leads Tag Ridings by only $703 for the 50th and final PGA Tour card entering this week's event. Other notable players currently on the outside looking in include Chad Campbell ($11,670 behind), Kyle Stanley ($17,640), Johnson Wagner ($19,430), Y.E. Yang ($23,860) and Trevor Immelman ($27,500). Despite the deficit, each is still in the running with $180,000 going to this week's winner and a top-five finish netting enough money to guarantee a card for next season.

Here is a look at the full priority ranking of the 50 players projected to earn PGA Tour cards heading into the Web.com Tour Championship:

Ranking Player Money Category
1  Carlos Ortiz  $515,403  Season Leader
1  Adam Hadwin  $499,667  2-25 Finisher
3  Bud Cauley  $180,000  PGA Tour 126-150
4  Justin Thomas  $470,469  2-25 Finisher
5  Colt Knost  $138,000  26-75 Finisher
6  Andrew Putnam  $340,037  2-25 Finisher
7  John Peterson  $127,600  PGA Tour 151-200
8  Zack Sucher  $313,466  2-25 Finisher
9  Richard Sterne  $111,800  Non-member 126-200
10  Blayne Barber  $306,601  2-25 Finisher
11  Tom Hoge  $81,100  26-75 Finisher
12  Tony Finau  $303,756  2-25 Finisher
13  Sam Saunders  $76,466  26-75 Finisher
14  Derek Fathauer  $288,185  2-25 Finisher
15  Greg Owen  $71,800  26-75 Finisher
16  Alex Cejka  $284,546  2-25 Finisher
17  David Lingmerth  $63,368  PGA Tour 126-150
18  Jason Gore  $272,346  2-25 Finisher
19  Whee Kim  $63,100  26-75 Finisher
20  Steven Alker  $261,900  2-25 Finisher
21  Tom Gillis  $61,449  26-75 Finisher
22  Andres Gonzles  $245,917  2-25 Finisher
23  Sean O'Hair  $58,000  PGA Tour 151-200
24  Jon Curran  $231,853  2-25 Finisher
25  Jim Herman  $57,725  PGA Tour 151-200
26  Daniel Berger  $220,985  2-25 Finisher
27  Scott Pinckney  $46,672  26-75 Finisher
28  Cameron Percy  $220,396  2-25 Finisher
29  J.J. Henry  $42,500  PGA Tour 151-200
30  Jonathan Randolph  $210,210  2-25 Finisher
31  Oscar Fraustro  $39,375  26-75 Finisher
32  Max Homa  $203,804  2-25 Finisher
33  Tyrone van Aswegen  $38,760  PGA Tour 126-150
34  Steve Wheatcroft  $193,219  2-25 Finisher
35  Hudson Swafford  $36,400  26-75 Finisher
36  Mark Hubbard  $192,787  2-25 Finisher
37  Nick Taylor  $33,535  26-75 Finisher
38  Kyle Reifers  $186,211  2-25 Finisher
39  Greg Chalmers  $32,620  PGA Tour 126-150
40  Ryan Armour  $183,216  2-25 Finisher
41  Roberto Castro  $32,380  PGA Tour 126-150
42  Byron Smith  $180,163  2-25 Finisher
43  Dicky Pride  $32,250  PGA Tour 151-200
44  Bill Lunde  $178,784  2-25 Finisher
T45  Carlos Sainz, Jr.  $31,950  26-75 Finisher
T45  Will Wilcox  $31,950  PGA Tour 126-150
47  Roger Sloan  $168,057  2-25 Finisher
48  Fabian Gomez  $162,321  2-25 Finisher
49  Vaughn Taylor  $31,107  26-75 Finisher
50  Patrick Rodgers  $30,000  Non-member 126-200