Ian Poulter had seemingly lost his PGA Tour card when he missed the cut at the Valero Texas Open last week, falling short of earning enough money or FedEx Cup points as laid out by the Tour to fulfill a major medical extension.
However, a week later, Poulter was told by the Tour that on Friday he had regained his fully exempt status — thanks to a clerical error, of sorts.
You see, the PGA Tour changed how it distributes FedEx Cup points between the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons, placing more emphasis on top-15 finishes and reducing the points given to players who finish from 16th to 65th place. The Tour didn’t account for that when giving Poulter and Brian Gay, among other players, their requirements to fulfill their medical extensions. After coming up short of earning enough points to qualify for The Players Championship, Gay calculated the difference in FedEx Cup points he would have earned last season compared to what he earned this season, and the difference was substantial.
After reaching out to the PGA Tour to explain the difference, the Tour realized the discrepancy for both players and chose to judge their performance against the major medical extension based on last year’s points scale. That meant both players had, in fact, fulfilled the requirements and were afforded their fully exempt status for the remainder of the PGA Tour season. Gay earned a berth into The Players.
“The spirit of the medical extension has always been to provide the same opportunity a player would have had if he had not been injured to retain his card,” the Tour said in a statement, “and in this case the bar was moved significantly.”
Poulter was clearly happy.
“It’s obviously a big bit of good news,” Poulter told reporters at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans on Saturday.
“For the Tour to unanimously decide that was the fair thing to do, puts me in a very different situation, being able to play The Players (Championship) and all the remaining events I would like to play.”