Notes: Wheatcroft on bubble to earn 25th card

September 24, 2013

FINAL CHAPTER - The quest to secure one of the 50 PGA TOUR cards for the upcoming 2013-14 season among Tour and PGA TOUR members comes to a conclusion this week with 127 players teeing off on Thursday at TPC Sawgrass Dye’s Valley Course.  Twenty-five cards have already been secured by the leading money winners from the Tour’s Regular Season (first 21 tournaments).  Twenty-five more and the all-important priority position for all 50 card earners are on the line this week at TPC Sawgrass.  The second set of 25 cards will go to the top money winners off the Finals money list who haven’t already secured cards.

EYE ON FINAL CARD – Steve Wheatcroft enters the Tour Championship with a $1,583 lead over Bhavik Patel for the 25th card.  Ryan Spears and Adam Crawford are another $342 behind Patel.  

MATHEMATICS – There are a lot of mathematical scenarios in play this week, but here are a few of the givens that set the stage for what’s ahead in the competition to determine who gets the 25 remaining TOUR cards:

  • With a first prize of $180,000, every player in the 127-man field has a mathematical chance of playing his way into a PGA TOUR card. It’s possible a fifth-, sixth- or seventh-place finish will do the job.
  • No. 25 Steve Wheatcroft has $23,925 in earnings.
  • The top-10 payouts this week are:

1-$180,000 2-$108,000 3-$68,000 4-$48,000 5-$40,000 6-$36,000 7-$33,500 8-$31,000 9-$29,000 10-$27,000

PGA TOUR / WEB.COM – The winners of the first three Tour Finals events have been players who started 2013 with PGA TOUR status. Of those who finished runner-up and third in the three events, the split is seven Tour members and one PGA TOUR member.

PATRICK CANTLAY TO SIT OUT FINALE – Patrick Cantlay was hoping to return to Finals play at the Tour Championship but took his name out of the field before last Friday’s commitment deadline.  The 21-year old fought back issues that sidelined since May in finishing runner-up to Trevor Immelman in the first Finals event, the Hotel Fitness Championship in Indiana.  A check for $108,000 secured his card.  Cantlay had expressed hope of returning to play in one or more of the Finals events to pursue the No. 1 spot and its fully exempt status.  Electing to remain on the sidelines, Cantlay enters the finale eighth and will head to the PGA TOUR with a relatively high spot on the priority ranking, which is used to make up TOUR fields.

NEW YORK CITY / NASDAQ TRIP AWAITS – The NASDAQ MarketSite and plan to honor Michael Putnam next Thursday (Oct. 3rd) at the exchange’s closing bell in New York City.  Putnam is being honored as the Tour’s Regular Season leading money winner.  Both the Finals leading money winner and Tour Championship winner will also be invited to join CEO David Brown on the floor of the echange in Times Square once those players are identified on Sunday at TPC Sawgrass.

BENJAMIN ALVARADO PULLS OUT – Last week “Storylines” shared the saga of Chile’s Benjamin Alvarado and his hope to make the Tour Championship his first tournament since the end of July.  Those hopes were dashed last week when he withdrew, still suffering the effects of knee inflamation. When the former Arizona State All-American does begin his 2013-14 PGA TOUR season, he will be 50th on the priority ranking list in the Tour category.

GOLF CHANNEL LIVE – Golf Channel will bring what promises to be a very interesting finale to the Tour season into the homes of golf fans all four days this week in high definition.  The network will air live coverage from 3-6 p.m. ET Thursday through Sunday.

PGA TOUR RADIO: LIVE FROM TPC SAWGRASS – PGA TOUR Radio will provide live play-by-play coverage of a Tour event for the first time this week. Tour Championship broadcasts will be anchored by host Earl Forcey and lead analyst John Maginnes, a three-time winner on the Tour.  Mark Carnevale, who lives in Ponte Vedra Beach and was the 1992 PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year, will call shots from inside the ropes, and deliver pre- and post-round player interviews.  Forcey and Maginnes will conduct extended interviews with players following their rounds, offering insights into weather conditions, course playability, and more.  Coverage will air Thursday through Sunday from 2-6 p.m. ET on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio (Sirius 208, XM 93), while PGATOUR.COM will stream the broadcasts as well.

NEXT WEEK – The 2013 Tour season ends on Sunday at TPC Sawgrass, but the 50 card earners who are honored on Sunday will be eligible to begin their 2013-14 PGA TOUR seasons the following week (Oct. 10-13) at the Open in northern California.