Ian Poulter regained his PGA Tour card after a -- shall we say -- clerical error from the PGA Tour was made clear, one which cost Poulter his card.
Poulter ostensibly failed to fulfill a major medical extension when he missed the cut at the 2017 Valero Texas Open, falling short of earning enough money or FedEx Cup points to retain his fully exempt PGA Tour status. In the end, the Englishman came up $30,624 or 63.654 FedEx Cup points shy of the $347,634 or 218.42 FedEx Cup points he was required by the Tour to earn to fulfill the major medical extension.
However, the way FedEx Cup points is distributed changed substantially between the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons. The change placed more of an emphasis on high finishes, largely reducing the number of points made available to players who finished outside the top 15. That meant bad news for Poulter, who earned fewer FedEx Cup points for each of the six starts where he made the cut than he would have earned had he played the events the season prior.
Here's a breakdown by event of what he earned versus what he would have earned last season:
- CIMB Classic -- T-17 -- 48 vs. 52.5
- The RSM Classic -- T-36 -- 16 vs. 31
- The Honda Classic -- T-43 -- 11.3 vs. 26
- Valspar Championship -- T-41 -- 11.88 vs. 26.5
- Arnold Palmer Invitational -- T-41 -- 13.5 vs. 28.5
- RBC Heritage -- T-11 -- 54.1 vs. 56.6
- TOTAL POINTS -- 154.78 vs. 221.1
The number of points Poulter would have earned would have satisfied the major medical extension. So, Poulter got screwed, right? That was the determination of the PGA Tour after looking at the drastic difference in points between the two distribution systems, voting to declare Poulter's major medical fulfilled and giving him full status for the remainder of the 2016-17 season.