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PGA Tour Considers Special Exemption for Tiger Woods

Last Updated: July, 8 2024
PGA Tour Considers Special Exemption for Tiger Woods

(Pinehurst, North Carolina) - The PGA Tour is considering implementing a special exemption category that would grant Tiger Woods entry into all "Signature Events" for the rest of his career, according to sources.


The possible change was discussed at a recent meeting of the Player Advisory Council (PAC) and will be voted on this week by the Tour Policy Board. With 82 career PGA Tour wins and over $120 million in career earnings, Woods' incredible legacy and impact on the game is the driving force behind the exemption proposal.




Currently, each Signature Event - the eight tournaments that make up the Tour's elevated season-long series - offers four sponsor exemptions. However, due to his limited playing schedule in recent years due to injuries and fitness levels, Woods does not always qualify on his own merit. A special exemption would ensure his place in fields for events like the Arnold Palmer Invitational and Memorial Tournament, where he is a multi-time champion.


"The PAC supported adding an additional sponsor exemption recognizing Tiger Woods in his own category as a player who has reached an exceptional lifetime achievement threshold of 80+ career wins," said a PAC newsletter outlining the discussion. The group feels it would maximize sponsor flexibilty while honoring Woods' unparalleled career.


If approved, the "lifetime achievement" exemption for Woods could be in place as early as 2025. However, its value is dependent on him actually utilizing the spot. So far in 2024, injury has limited Woods to just one Signature Event start, where he had to withdraw after an opening round at Riviera.


The Tour will also consider setting a 72-player minimum for all Signature Events going forward, as small fields have occasionally left profitable spots going unused. A decision on implementing a cut at all Signature Events or none will come at a later date.


For now, all eyes are on the Policy Board vote this week and whether they honor Tiger Woods with guaranteed access to golf's biggest tournaments for the remainder of his career.



Read more: Tiger Woods Struggles as Aussies Endure Punishing Conditions at US Open


How have other players reacted to the potential exemption for Tiger Woods?


On the idea, fans are divided. For many, it's a fitting homage to Tiger's history and his contributions to the game. Others, however, believe that certain people shouldn't have to work so hard every week. It's difficult to argue against recognizing Tiger, as one fan put it, but it also seems a touch harsh to men who haven't achieved the same level of success.


A lot of players recognize that Tiger is in a category of his own due to his achievements. However, some younger guys may feel it takes an opportunity away from players really needing a break to establish themselves on Tour.


It will be interesting to see how the Policy Board votes. On the one hand, Tiger has more than paid his dues. But the board will want to be careful not to set a precedent where success entitles you to exemptions forever. There are good arguments on both sides of this issue.


Many people ultimately believe that this is more of a murky area. Even though Tiger is a phenomenal player in his own right, the rules should still be applied equally. To be fair and honor Tiger at the same time is a difficult line to tread. In an effort to appease supporters of Tiger and those worried about the implications for justice, the tour would want to think about making some concessions.


In general, it's eliciting conflicting responses because rational individuals can see all sides of the argument. There will probably be further discussion about precedent and justice when the tour's governing authorities deliberate and make a decision on the matter.






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With a background in digital media and a passion for golf culture, Emily scours the internet and PGA/LPGA tour circuits for the most entertaining, shocking, and bizarre stories about professional golfers. She is skilled at curating viral golf content, from Instagram antics to tournament controversies, and turning them into shareable, humorous articles. Her readers appreciate her ability to find the fun and humor in the world of elite golf.

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