The current Web.com Tour Finals consists of four tournaments culminating with the Tour Championship. Players accumulate winnings over the first three to have a shot at a PGA Tour card in the last one.
Twenty-five cards have been locked up by the Web.com Tour players during their regular season. They were joined during The Finals by the players who finished 26 through 75 and the 75 PGA Tour players who finished in the 126 through 200 spots during their regular season. Those latter two groups are playing for the remaining 25 PGA Tour cards and they are all playing for the priority rankings — 1 through 50 — of their cards to determine next year’s pecking order.
The other day, I looked at the PGA Tour players who played their way into each successive level of The Playoffs. What was interesting was how few players managed to break into those successive bubbles. Part of the reason for that is the relatively small movement afforded players except for the highest finishers; it goes by FedExCup points now.
Not so on the Web.com Tour where they go by money won. But they don’t win anywhere near the money of the guys on the “big” Tour, so there is a lot more volatility on the leaderboard. For example, here are the top 14 guys (nine of them shot 4-under) on Thursday’s leaderboard with their before-and-after priority rankings. Red numbers are outside the top 50 and green numbers are inside:
- Ashley Hall, 7-under, 116, 5
- Robert Karlsson, 6-under, 72, 11
- Mark Anderson, 6-under (including a hole-in-one), 46, 13
- Chesson Hadley, 5-under, 14, 12
- Shane Bertsch, 5-under, 97, 22
- Henrik Norlander, 4-under, 85, 34
- Billy Hurley III, 4-under, 60, 24
- Hudson Swafford, 4-under, 17, 15
- John Peterson, 4-under, 5, 4
- Matt Bettencourt, 4-under, 49, 39
- Peter Tomasulo, 4-under, 79, 32
- Joe Durant, 4-under, 67, 27
- Johnnattan Vegas, 4-under, 97, 54
- Dicky Pride, 4-under, n/a, 58
So in the case of Aussie, Ashley Hall, he made a huge move from 116th to 5th, which, it turns out, is poetic justice. He had his card locked up at 25th and then fell out of the top 25 in the last tournament.
So the restructuring of Q-School has worked in that it keeps the players playing hard throughout The Finals because it provides the opportunity for large movements up (and down) the leaderboard. That makes it a very fluid situation even mid-round and you can watch the red and green numbers change on the leaderboard almost by the shot.
As the old PGA Tour saying used to go, “Every shot makes somebody happy.”