Every year there is significant turnover among the golfers who own a PGA Tour card. To either retain or automatically earn a card for the upcoming season, golfers must finish inside the top-125 in the FedExCup standings, writes Jordan Fuller.
At the conclusion of the final tournament for points in the FedExCup race, the failures of a handful of golfers cause a few heads to turn. And this season was no different as four talented golfers lost their card for the 2019-20 campaign.
For these golfers, they now enter the abyss of exemptions and qualifiers, hoping to grind their way into enough tournaments to somehow regain their tour card.
Perhaps the most surprising name on this list is Martin Kaymer. The 34-year-old golfer lost his tour card after a disappointing 2018-19 season.
It has been over five years since Kaymer won his second major, the 2014 U.S. Open, and his five-year tour exemption expired at the end of the current season.
Kaymer came close to winning exemption status as he led The Memorial Tournament after three rounds but fell apart on the back nine to lose the event. His third-place finish allowed him to get to 120th in the FedExCup standings, but Kaymer never challenged in a tournament again, causing him to finish 150th overall.
What’s a bit of a head scratcher for Kaymer is that he only competed in 14 tour events, one below the required 15 tournaments to keep his top-150 conditional membership. Kaymer also failed to play 15 tournaments in the 2015-16 season, causing him to also lose his tour card for the following year.
With a struggling game, Kaymer will have to rely on exemptions to get into enough tournaments to potentially get his tour card back for the 2020-21 season.
Hunter Mahan, a longtime fan favorite, had a terrible season resulting in the loss of his PGA Tour card. The 37-year-old golfer played in 21 events on the tour this season and only made the cut eight times.
The highlight of the season for Mahan was a tie for 15th in the RSM Classic back in November, but with yearly winnings under $300,000, Mahan failed to stay inside the top-125 after the middle of February.
After a ten-week absence from the tour stretching from early April to late June, Mahan missed the cut in five of his last six tournaments - making it quite difficult for him to improve his score.
Mahan’s career has been in a state of flux since fighting through two poor seasons starting in 2016. In 2016-17, the golfer had a similar campaign to his 2018-19 year by missing the cut in 13 of 22 tournaments and posting more rounds above par than below.
But the Dallas-native fought back to win his PGA card after the brutal 2017-18 season by placing in the top 25 on the Korn Ferry Tour. Barring a comeback this year at the KFT, Mahan could be headed back to the small circuit to regain his PGA Tour card.
One of the highest-ranked golfers that failed to get their card is Daniel Berger. This season, Berger put together a solid year by making the cut in 15 of the 20 tournaments he played and bringing home winnings of around $742,000.
The 26-year-old golfer was in 131st place in the FedExCup standings heading into the final points event of the year, the Wyndham Championship. Needing to climb the leaderboard to fall inside the top-125 and guarantee himself a tour card, Berger played well with his clubs, but not well enough.
He finished in 39th place at the Wyndham leaving him stuck in 131st place in the FedExCup standings and on the outside looking in for a renewal of his PGA Tour card.
The good news for Berger is that due to a thumb injury that kept him out of tournament play back in the fall of 2018 for four months, he should be awarded an injury exemption that will allow him to give the Tour another chance in 2019-20.
The once wunderkind who qualified for the U.S. Open twice by the age of 17, Hossler fell on hard times this season by making the cut in only 16 of the 27 tournaments he played.
Hossler also failed to finish higher than 15th in any tournament he played this year after narrowly missing a win at the 2018 Houston Open, losing in a playoff to Ian Poulter.
Completing 2018-19 with winnings totaling around $645,000, Hossler finished 145th overall in the FedExCup standings after missing the cut at the Wyndham.
The 24-year-old California-native will head to the KFT Finals looking to get inside the top-25 to earn his tour card back for the 2019-20 PGA Tour season.