MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Rory Sabbatini can get a full PGA Tour card for next season, thanks to players who signed up with Saudi-funded LIV Golf and were suspended.
Circumstances evolve from the PGA Tour’s decision to ensure that suspended players do not affect the eligibility criteria of players in good standing.
The tour now has two lists – the official FedEx Cup standings and an “eligibility point list” with suspended players removed. That’s how Rickie Fowler secured 125th place in the FedEx Cup playoffs that begin this week.
The touring policy council decided on Friday to have separate lists involving career finance executives as well.
Players are allowed to use a one-time exemption to be in the top 50 in career money, as well as a one-time exemption to be in the top 25 in career money. Typically, a player will use the top 25 exemption first, then the top 50.
Sabbatini, who won Olympic silver for Slovakia last summer, failed to retain his full card last year. He was career No. 29 and had to use his one-time top-50 exemption for that season. But he only earned $628,043 this year and finished in the top 125 in the FedEx Cup.
Sabbatini is believed to have dropped to No. 31. But five LIV Golf players have quit and will no longer be on the career earning list. Four others have been suspended and will not count.
This will move Sabbatini up to No. 22, meaning he can use his top-25 exemption and have a full card for next season.
Sabbatini, born in South Africa, is a six-time PGA Tour winner whose last victory was in 2011 at the Honda Classic.
The math gets even more complicated in other areas, but Bubba Watson’s resignation from the PGA Tour – it takes effect on Sunday – changes the points threshold required for players to qualify for the Korn Ferry Tour Finals. This creates room for Anthony Quayle, Chris Naegel, Rick Lamb and Matthias Schmid to try and earn cards later this month.