AVONDALE, La. – Ian Poulter lost his PGA Tour card after his performance last week at the Valero Classic, or so he thought. After realizing that it was unfair to change the way points were awarded to those on medical exemption, the PGA Tour retroactively awarded Poulter and Brian Gay the points they had originally won.
Poulter only found out thanks to Gay, who realized that the points change had also affected his status and called Andy Pazder, the PGA Tour’s COO.
Via Golf.com: Gay began digging into his FedEx Cup totals for his 2016-17 finishes and only then noticed a lightly publicized change to this season’s points breakdown. The Tour has restructured the distribution, giving fewer points to finishes below 14th. For instance, a 20th-place finish last season was worth 51 points, but this season it brings only 45; 30th place has been devalued from 41 points to 28. Major medicals extensions are not pegged to a specific season; indeed, Gay had accrued his $917,000 across the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons. But thanks to the Tour’s new math, his finishes this season were worth fewer points.
“You can’t change the formula in the middle of a major medical,” Gay says. “That’s just not fair. They were essentially taking points away from me.”
After the call, Gay realized that he had also helped Poulter, who had been solely focused on gaining his eligibility with earnings.
“Holy s—! I just got Ian Poulter his Tour card.”
Poulter and Gay texted back and forth on Friday night after the issue had been discovered.
“Ian wrote, I freakin’ love you with a bunch of red hearts,” Gay says, laughing. “We talked later, and he didn’t even know the FedEx points were different this season. He was happy and he was angry, because his people hadn’t known what was going on and obviously the Tour did a poor job of explaining it, and the guy has gone through hell over this.”
The development means that both players are eligible to compete on the PGA Tour next season, but also qualify for the Players Championship which is now based strictly on FedEx Cup points.