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Hoch, Weir among group using earnings exemption in 2013

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Despite the fact that he last played a full season on the PGA Tour in 2005, Scott Hoch will be among those with full status on the Tour in 2013.

Hoch, 57, has been a fixture on the Champions Tour since he turned 50 just prior to the 2006 season. Next year, though, he will have eligibility on the PGA Tour, where he won 11 times in his career, as he is opting to use a one-time exemption based on his standing inside the top 50 on the Tour's career money list.

Having compiled more than $18 million in career earnings, Hoch is currently 44th on the list, and thanks to steady play, never had to use the exemption while still regularly playing on the Tour. Due in large part to the increase in purses in recent years, Hoch has seen his standing on the list steadily decline, and he is now just $760,907 from the 50th spot. With eight active players within $2 million of his career mark, there is reason to think that 2013 may be the last year Hoch will have the exemption at his disposal.

Another notable player using a career earnings exemption for 2013 is Mike Weir. Approaching the 10-year anniversary of his Masters triumph, Weir has struggled mightily in recent years and failed to make a cut in 14 starts this year on Tour. His standing at 18th on the career money list means he will use his top-25 career earnings exemption next year, with a top-50 exemption still available for later use.

Other players using similar exemptions to secure status for next year include Justin Leonard (No. 9 in career earnings), Stuart Appleby (No. 19) and Jerry Kelly (No. 25). Ben Crane, Bubba Watson and Dustin Johnson headline the group of players likely to jump into the top 50 in career earnings in 2013.