Bud Cauley didn't play at all on the PGA Tour in 2015, taking the season off after having surgery to repair a torn labrum in September 2014.
After the surgery, he made his return to tour life in November 2015, given a major medical exemption and 17 events to earn enough money or FedEx Cup points to regain full status. However, starts have been hard to get. Cauley played in and missed the cut at a pair of November tournaments, the Sanderson Farms Championship and The RSM Classic. He then played twice in January, cashing with a T-14 at the CareerBuilder Challenge and a T-25 at the wind-swept Farmers Insurance Open. After missing the cut at Pebble Beach, Cauley didn't get another start until two weeks ago, missing the cut at the Wells Fargo Championship.
Now tied for third place through 54 holes, Cauley is happy to be in the thick of things.
“It's nice to be back out here where it matters and you get the juices flowing again and it's fun,” said Cauley, who trails leader Brooks Koepka by three shots.
The mission for Cauley on Sunday is to rack up as many FedEx Cup points and as much money as possible. With 11 starts left in his major medical, Cauley needs to earn 358.5 more FedEx Cup points or $588,453 to get his status back. On the money side, Cauley could get his status back with a two-way tie for second place or better. On FedEx Cup points, only a win could get Cauley full status again -- and with that would come a two-year exemption.