PGA Tour caddie rips 'dirty politics' of sponsor exemptions

A PGA Tour caddie has shone a light on the shady behind-the-scenes dealings over sponsor exemptions and how they are handed out.

PGA Tour caddie rips 'dirty politics' of sponsor exemptions
PGA Tour caddie rips 'dirty politics' of sponsor exemptions

A PGA Tour caddie has shone a light on the 'dirty deals' that go on behind-the-scenes over sponsor exemptions. 

Writing for Golf Digest about his 'up-and-coming' player, the looper claimed sponsor exemptions are 'some of the most politically biased aspects of professional golf'. 

He wrote his player was recently rejected for an alternate event in favour of a golfer who was represented by the agency that runs the tournament. 

"He was surprised—and pissed," he wrote. "I was upset, too, but not surprised. I knew the fix was in." 

Alternate events occur opposite some of the bigger tournaments on the PGA Tour circuit. 

In the past, they have been played opposite the Arnold Palmer Invitational, WGC Match Play, Scottish Open and the Open

The Match Play has been dropped from the 2023-2024 schedule

They represent a chance for rank-and-file members to gain OWGR and FedEx Cup points. There is, however, less cash on the line. 

But they offer a greater chance for a player to achieve a breakout victory. 

One of the changes to the 2023-2024 schedule will see winners of alternate events not being given a spot into the signature events. 

The looper added:

"Take my player. You know why he didn’t get in? The alternate event is managed by an agency that represents professional golfers.
"Take a guess which players got the nod for those exemptions? Ding, ding: those who were represented by the agency running the event.
"If each agency had its own tournament, this wouldn't be an issue, but some of the more high-profile agencies are affiliated with half-a-dozen or more events, and many of those are 'rank-and-file' weeks.
"Because those tournaments usually aren't as popular as the majors or designated events, the politics behind the scenes doesn't get the attention it deserves." 

PGA Tour members can take an unlimited number of sponsor exemptions.

Non-PGA Tour members can take a maximum of seven. Players who need sponsors exemptions typically write letters to tournament directors and then cross their fingers. 

The caddie added that he wasn't an advocate for getting rid of sponsor exemptions. 

"But we need to do a better job of policing how they are used," he wrote. 

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