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:
|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|