How Do You Lose Your PGA Tour Card? [And What Next]

A PGA Tour card is one of the most prized possessions in professional golf, but it’s also one of the most difficult things to hold onto.

With the level of players on the PGA Tour, if a golfer isn’t quite up to the standard, it’s very possible they won’t make a lot of money and will lose their cards.

So how are PGA Tour cards lost? Let’s take a look.

How Do You Lose Your PGA Tour Card?

How Do You Lose PGA Tour Card?

How Do Golfers Lose Their PGA Tour Cards?

Golfers on the PGA Tour lose their card if they’re not playing well and finish outside of the top 125 in the FedEx Cup standings.

Usually, this will happen when a player is out of form and is missing many cuts in a season. If the player misses the cut at an event, they won’t get paid or pick up any FedEx Cup points.

This ultimately means they won’t accumulate enough earnings and points in the regular season, and will finish outside of the top 125 players.

The number of points required to finish inside the top 125 places can vary each season, depending on the number of golfers playing on the PGA Tour and other player performances across the season.

At the end of the 2021-22 season, 361 FedEx Cup points were needed to finish in the top 125 and retain a tour card. Whereas the previous season, players needed at least 440 to sit within 125 on the money list.

Of course, not all golfers who finish outside the top 125 in the rankings will lose their tour card. Some of these players may still have exemptions which allow them to keep playing despite a poor season.

A win at a PGA Tour event gives a golfer a two-year playing exemption. Therefore, if they won within the previous two seasons, they’ll still have a place secured for next season.

If the tournament is the Tour Championship, a World Golf Championship, Arnold Palmer Invitational or Memorial Tournament, the exemption is 3 years.

Even better, if a player wins a major championship such as the US Open or The Masters, this will give them playing exemptions on both the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour (European Tour) for five years. So this allows them many years when the pressure is off to perform their best, without fear of losing their cards.

Any golfer that finishes inside the top 125 in the rankings after the FedEx Cup Fall events are guaranteed to have a card on the PGA Tour for the following season. This means they have a full PGA Tour card which will give them full status and allow them to play in whichever official PGA Tour events they wish.

What Happens When You Lose Your PGA Tour Card?

Losing a PGA Tour is a very tough time for professional golfers as it means they no longer have a full playing status.

Those that finish outside the top 125 will no longer have access to all PGA Tour events in the next year.

The best opportunity to get a tour card again for the following season is by going through the Final Stage of the PGA Tour Qualifying.

Those that make the top-5 will get a card with full playing rights. However, if they fail to make the top-5, their playing schedule will vary based on whereabouts they finished in the rankings.

Those conditional status players in 126-150 spots on the FedEx Cup Points List will have a full Korn Ferry Tour status. This means they can play all Korn Ferry Tour events and hopefully get a few events on the PGA Tour.

The smaller events in the season are the weeks when these players will be looking to get a spot in the field. It’s these events where the top players in the rankings will likely have a week off or be playing in a bigger event such as one of the major championships, so places open up to those with limited status.

Although this is an amazing opportunity for those players to have a great week and regain a tour card, places will be limited.

Most tournaments will have around 144 to 156 players competing, with some of the previous top 125 playing, as well as most of the top 25 players from the previous Korn Ferry Tour Finals. As a result, space for conditional status players will be fairly limited.

They also usually won’t know if they’ve got a place in the field until the week before. This makes scheduling very difficult.

Any players that finished in 151-200 spot at the close of the season will get a Korn Ferry Tour conditional playing status. Like conditional playing status on the PGA Tour, this only gives them entry into a few of the Korn Ferry Tour tournaments.

For players outside of the 200 on the points list, they’ll have no status on any of the elite-level tours. This means they’ll either need to try for Korn Ferry Tour Q-school or give the smaller satellite tours a go.

Final Thoughts

For golfers that make it to the final of the FedEx Cup Playoffs, there’s no need to worry about losing their PGA Tour cards. They’ve had a great season, played well and made lots of money.

Unfortunately, golf just isn’t that easy and every year there will be professional golfers that are left without a place for the next year.


What does it take to keep your PGA Tour card?

PGA Tour players that finish within the top 125 in the FedEx Cup Fall Points List at the end of the season will keep their PGA Tour card for the following season.

This will give them full status on the tour for all of next season’s PGA Tour events.

How long does your tour card last?

A PGA Tour card for most players will last one full season.

Some players may have a 2, 3 or 5-year playing exemption if they’ve won a certain tournament, which means they have a tour card for a number of years.

How many golfers keep their tour card?

The top 125 players at the end of the season keep their tour cards for next season on the PGA Tour.

Players outside of the top 125 will still have some status on the tour, but won’t have access to every event.

What does it mean to lose PGA Tour card?

Losing a PGA Tour card means that a golfer won’t have full playing rights on the PGA Tour for the next season.

This could mean that they’re unable to play in any PGA Tour events or it might mean they’re only able to play in smaller tournaments on the tour.

Ed Welton

Founder, Editor

Ed is the founder and editor at EEE Golf. He’s been playing golf for over 20 years, competing in many top amateur events. He’s played courses all over the world and played with some of the best players in the game. His aim is to help educate people about the game of golf and give insights into the sport he loves most.

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