Skip to main content

Confusion over status costs Hurley AT&T exemption

Bobby Hurley
Getty Images
GUADALAJARA, MEXICO - NOVEMBER 14: Lorena Ochoa lines up a birdie putt on the 18th hole during the second round of the Lorena Ochoa Invitational at Guadalajara Country Club on November 14, 2008 in Guadalajara, Mexico. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)  - 

For about 48 hours, it seemed as though Billy Hurley would be making his PGA Tour season debut at this week's AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. After confusion surfaced over Hurley's status from 2012, though, it turned out he was ineligible to receive the exemption that had been offered.

'Just got off the phone w/ @attproam they gave me an exemption! Now to scramble and get to Pebble,' Hurley posted to Twitter last Friday. 'Looking fwd to teeing it up next week.'

The exemption in question, though, was only available to players who have current status with the Tour - namely, those that finished in the top 150 on last year's money list. Although Hurley was 150th in FedEx Cup points last season, he was 151st on the money list, and once he arrived on-site Sunday, organizers soon realized that Hurley did not meet the criteria for the exemption.

'We felt terrible,' said tournament director Steve John. 'Billy is a wonderful young man and was otherwise an obvious choice to receive the exemption.'

Despite the unfortunate turn of events, Hurley was able to maintain an optimistic point of view, as tournament officials agreed to pay for the expenses he and his family incurred in traveling to the Monterey Peninsula.

'Mix up at the tournament in Pebble Beach and I am actually not in the field. Headed home tmrw,' Hurley tweeted Tuesday. 'Got a few nice days at Pebble with the fam!' 

Hurley will now turn his attention to the Tour, making his first start two weeks from now in Panama with the hopes of regaining status on the PGA Tour for 2014. Hurley's agent, Nick Biesecker, indicated that Hurley would likely not seek any future exemptions this year, save for a possible return to the AT&T National, where Hurley - a resident of nearby Annapolis, Md. - tied for fourth last year.

As for tournament organizers, they remain hopeful that Hurley, who missed the cut in each of his first two appearances at Pebble Beach, will be back in the field at a future date.

'We hope the opportunity comes up where he won't need (an exemption),' noted John. 'But if he does, I guarantee he'll get a second look.'