NEW YORK – While the top 100 players in the FedExCup gather outside Boston this week to resume their pursuit of riches, 129 players are in Indiana for another form of PGA Tour playoffs. Only those guys are pursuing jobs.
The Hotel Fitness Championship in Fort Wayne, Ind., is the first event of the Web.com Tour Finals, four $1 million tournaments that will determine who gets PGA Tour cards for the 2013-14 season. It essentially is like Q-School, but stretched out over four weeks instead of six days.
The four-event series is for players who were No. 126 to No. 200 in the FedExCup, and the top 75 players from the Web.com Tour money list.
Everyone starts from scratch, and the leading 25 players on the money list from these four tournaments will get their PGA Tour cards. The top 25 from the Web.com Tour money list are assured their cards. How high they finish on this money list only determines their pecking order for getting into tournaments next season.
The series should start to provide some insight in one question: Does this format favor the players who had poor seasons competing against the best in the world, or those who had good years competing in the minor leagues?
Not everyone who is eligible will be competing.
Some players, such as Ben Curtis and Tommy Gainey, already are exempt for 2013-14 from winning on tour last year. The field includes a major champion (Trevor Immelman) and former Ryder Cup players Chad Campbell and Chris DiMarco.
It also includes Patrick Cantlay, who was in the top 25 on the Web.com Tour money list almost the entire year until a back injury kept him out for two months. He fell out of the top 25 after the final week of the regular season, and now starts with no money next to his name along with everyone else.
The series moves to North Carolina next week, followed by Columbus, Ohio, and wrapping up with the Web.com Tour Championship at PGA Tour headquarters (the Valley Course at TPC Sawgrass).
After a week off, the new season begins.
Those who failed to earn one of the 25 cards will have status on the Web.com Tour next year.