The PGA Tour made its move this week basically flushed all the LIV defectors down the proverbial toilets at Ponte Vedra.
The FedEx Cup playoffs are just two short weeks away and the Tour has created a secondary points list for eligibility for those playoff events that start with the FedEx St. Jude on August 11th in Memphis.
PGA Tour commish Jay Monahan (aka The Sheriff of Nottingham) had his henchmen send a memo informing the faithful that the Tour has made said move to ensure “that suspended members do not negatively impact other players’ tournament eligibility, positioning on the priority rankings or eligibility to compete in the FedEx Cup playoffs.”
What it basically means is that all the defectors’ names are gone and players will actually move up on that hunt for the top 125 at the end of the Wyndham event next week.
Players removed by the Tour include Talor Gooch, Matt Jones, Hudson Swafford, Matt Wolf and Abraham Ancer, all of whom were in the top 80 on the FedEx Cup points list. Carlos Ortiz (110th), Brooks Koepka (102nd) and Pat Perez (121) were all in the top 125.
There will be more good news coming on Wednesday when the Tour dumps Jason Kokrak, Charles Howell III and Paul Casey. Kokrak was 40th, Howell, 99th while Casey was outside the magic number at 127, yeah, Paul needed to head to the LIV.
One popular player who needed the good news is Rickie Fowler, Mr. Popularity on the PGA Tour and a brand ambassador for this week’s presenting sponsor — Rocket Mortgage.
Things have gotten pretty ugly for Rickie as he’s continually slid in the rankings since leaving Butch Harmon. Rickie missed the top 125 last year but is exempt through he 22-23 season thanks to his win at the 2015 Players Championship.
Rickie started this season at No. 85 in the world rankings and now sits at a lowly 156th. Rickie started calendar year 2022 by missing three straight cuts at the American Express, Farmers and Phoenix. Missing the Farmers was embarrassing, considering he’s their main brand ambassador.
Fowler’s best finish was a T21 at the Wells Fargo. He missed three more cuts at The Heritage, the Texas Open and The Travelers.
This announcement from the Tour couldn’t have come at a better time for Rickie. He was dangling in the wind at No. 133 on the FedEx Cup points list. The new eligibility points list has moved Rickie up to No. 124. A good showing this week should lock him into the playoffs. He should move higher when Kokrak and company are deleted.
It doesn’t sound like much but at least Rickie’s been trending in the right direction — he made the cut in his last two events. He finished T47 at the Scottish Open and T38 last week at the 3M. When you’re struggling, making cuts is a small victory.
Rickie’s state of mind, along with those of a lot of other “bubble boys” in the standings, should improve with the good news from The Commish.
Just this week and next — two events left in the regular season.
Time to make a move.