Pros advice

Ian Poulter retains PGA Tour card thanks to Brian Gay's sleuthing

Ian Poulter lost his full-exemption status on the PGA Tour after falling $30,624, or 63.654 FedEx Cup points short of what was needed to retain his Tour card after utilising a major medical exemption. Or, at least, that’s how it seemed, until fellow golfer Brian Gay did a little sleuthing…

Some smart detective work by Gay, which would give Sherlock Holmes a run for his money, unearthed something rather interesting about himself and Poulter; and it pertained to their current status on the PGA Tour.

Due to a mathematical gaffe that placed both Poulter and Gay in the uncomfortable position of having to rely on sponsor exemptions for starts, Gay discovered a lightly publicised change to this seasons’ points breakdown. As Alan Shipnuck from Golf.com explains: “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.”

The same situation, of course, also went for Poulter.

Gay immediately placed a call to the PGA Tour, pointing out the facts he’d uncovered. The PGA Tour’s four elected player directors then met with commissioner Jay Monahan and unanimously agreed that Gay was in fact correct. The points from the old formula were retroactively awarded, and also earned Gay a spot in the Players Championship.

Gay found out the news on last Friday, and realised the loophole would likely also apply to Poulter, who had been under the impression his full status was gone after a missed cut in San Antonio last week. But, as Shipnuck reported, when he retroactively received the FedEx points for this season, he had earned enough to fulfill the medical extension.

“Ian wrote, I freakin’ love you with a bunch of red hearts,” Gay said. “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.”

Gay added: “He said he would get me a proper bottle of wine. I was thinking more like some private jet flights, but that’s OK; I’ll take the wine.”





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