South Korean veteran Choi Kyoung-ju will retain his PGA Tour status for next season thanks to a special exemption category, his agency said Monday.
Choi, better known on the tour as K.J. Choi, ranked 177th on the 2016-2017 season FedEx Cup points standings after last weekend's Wyndham Championship and failed to qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs open to the top 125.
Those ranked inside the top 125 earn full-time status for the following season, while those ranked from 126th to 150th have conditional status. Players between 126th and 200th get another chance on the second-tier circuit, Web.com Tour, where they'll complete in the four Web.com Tour Finals events alongside the top 75 from that tour's money list. The 25 best players from those tournaments will make it to the big stage.
In this Associated Press file photo taken on July 27, 2017, Choi Kyoung-ju of South Korea watches his tee shot on the seventh hole during the first round of the RBC Canadian Open on the PGA Tour at Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, Ontario. (Yonhap)
Choi, an eight-time PGA winner, won't have to worry about the grind, thanks to his place on the career earnings list.
At the end of last year, Choi was 22nd on the career money list with about $31.8 million. This season, he's at No. 25.
Under the PGA Tour eligibility rules, players among the Top 25 in career earnings as of the end of the preceding season may elect to use their special one-time exemption for the following season.
Choi, 47, hasn't had a top-10 finish this season in 25 starts. His last win came at The Players Championship in 2011.
If Choi fails to crack the top 125 in the FedEx Cup points in the 2017-2018 season, he will still have another exemption to fall back on: He's safely inside the top 50 in the career money list, and those players may use that exemption for the next year. (Yonhap)