Englishmen Andrew "Beef" Johnston and 2016 Masters winner Danny Willett will both lose their PGA Tour status after this season, though Willett will gain entry into events on the back of his major-championship triumph.
For Beef, the change in status is by virtue of his play, which forced him to choose to remain only in Europe. He came over to the United States with the aim of trying out the PGA Tour for size and seeing if he could manage being a member of both tours. He struggled trying to balance the two, posting his only top-10 of the season as a T-10 at the opposite-field Puerto Rico Open in March.
Beef dropped in the Official World Golf Ranking from No. 86 at the start of the year to No. 108 this week before withdrawing citing a shoulder injury after a first-round 78 at the 2017 PGA Championship. At No. 185 in the FedEx Cup standings, Beef was almost certain to lose his card barring a miracle at the Wyndham Championship next week to close the PGA Tour regular season.
“You realize the PGA Tour is a tough tour as there are so many good players,” he said ahead of the season's final major. “It is like Europe as well, but the courses vary and are completely different, so it is tough coming and learning that.”
As for Willett, the changes in his life are dramatic. Battling a back injury, Willett fired coach Pete Cowen and started working with Sean Foley after finishing DFL at the 2017 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. Willett has considered back surgery, though he intends to work on improving his move with his new teacher.
“We’ve worked really hard, I’ve done everything that I think has been asked and I just really wasn’t seeing results,” Willett said after an opening 73 at the PGA Championship. “It’s just very amicable. I want a different set of eyes looking at it, a bit of a fresh start really to try to get really excited about working on some different stuff. Things, in my eyes, that have to change.”
Willett is making his 11th PGA Tour start of the season at Quail Hollow. Barring a win here or in Greensboro, Willett will not make the FedEx Cup playoffs and will fall short of making the required 15 starts for a foreign-born player to maintain full PGA Tour membership. Like Martin Kaymer after the 2014-15 season, Willett will be limited to 12 starts next season.
“I think not traveling back and forth to the States as much as we have done this year is probably a good thing personally for the family, which is more important first and foremost than anything else we do,” Willett said. “After that, I’m still going to have three years’ exemption. Maybe by that time we’ve bought a house over here and we’re a bit more settled.”