Mike Weir will have full status on the PGA Tour in 2013 after officially cashing in one of his two career-earnings exemptions.
The eight-time PGA Tour champion from Bright's Grove, Ont., didn't make a cut this year in 14 starts as he returned to action following injury and surgery, and thus he did not earn his card for next year. But by being in the top 25 of career money winners – he's No. 18 with almost $27-million (U.S.) – he was able to apply for full-time status any way.
This will allow him to set his own schedule and gets him into full-field events. He'll have to play his way into the bigger tournaments, including the invitationals and majors (with the exception of the Masters).
Weir still has another exemption available that he can use in a subsequent year for being inside the top 50 in career winnings.
Golf Channel's website had a run-down Friday of players who, like Weir, applied for 2013 status based on their career earnings. Scott Hoch is perhaps the most intriguing. The 57-year-old, who competes on the Champions Tour and hasn't played a full-season on the PGA Tour since 2005, used an exemption for being inside the top 50. It was now or never for Hoch. As the website notes, "he is now just $760,907 from the 50th spot. With eight active players within $2-million of his career mark, there is reason to think that 2013 may be the last year Hoch will have the exemption at his disposal."
Other players using similar exemptions to secure status for next year include Justin Leonard (No. 9 in career earnings), Stuart Appleby (No. 19) and Jerry Kelly (No. 25).
The Short Game blog is a compilation of small news stories, statistics and analysis from the wide world of golf, with a focus on Canadian content. Jeff Brooke has written about golf for The Globe and Mail since his first assignment at the 2007 Masters.