By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
NORTON, Mass. -- Just like he's done the past two weeks, William McGirt enters this week's tournament fighting for his Playoffs life. But he's also fighting another battle -- to keep his PGA TOUR card for next year.
It's a battle that may also require him to play a full schedule in the Fall Series.
According to PGA TOUR officials here, McGirt is the only player in the 99-man field in the Deutsche Bank Championship who is on the outside of the current top 125 on the money list and does not yet have fully exempt status for 2012.
McGirt ranks 96th in FedExCup points but 141st on the money list. Unless he climbs into the top 125 by the end of the season, he will not have fully exempt status after the fall.
"I'm probably going to have to make another $300,000, $400,000 to keep my card," McGirt said Wednesday. "But the good news is, a good week this week and we keep moving on."
McGirt is approximately $160,000 behind current No. 125 David Mathis. The top 125 on the money list at the end of the year earn their cards for 2012.
Mathis, however, did not make the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup. McGirt did, using a clutch performance to claim the last spot after the Wyndham Championship. He then advanced to the Deutsche Bank with a tie for 24th last week at The Barclays, his best result in his last 20 starts on TOUR.
In terms of the money list, McGirt was 158th after Wyndham but moved up to 141st after The Barclays. So while others in his same situation must wait until the Fall Series to start earning money again, McGirt has an unique opportunity to make up significant ground now, thanks to the chase for the FedExCup.
"But I'm not looking at is as I have to get it done right now," McGirt said. "I've got four fall finish events. There's plenty of opportunities left to lock up my card.
"And I think if you start putting pressure on yourself to get it done this week, that I have to make this much money, I think you're only setting yourself up for failure.
"If you're going out there trying to win golf tournaments, things will take care of themselves if you play well."
McGirt, who earned status this year thanks to his tie for second at last year's q-school (and may have to try q-school again if he doesn’t climb inside the top 125), is enjoying the ride right now. His performance the last couple of weeks have made him sort of a Cinderella story, the longshot who keeps playing well enough to stay alive.
"Obviously I want to play well," McGirt said. "I want to stay out here, but I've tried to make it fun, enjoy what we're doing, find things to do on the road, stuff that we would never do without being in this situation, being on TOUR and being in these tournaments. My wife and I have had a blast.
"We started the year and said, whether or not I keep my card, we're going to have fun, but I'm going to give it everything that I have. If I keep my card, great; if I don't, I'll walk away at the end of this year knowing that I gave it everything that I have and that I thoroughly enjoyed this year."