From week to week, the field in a given tournament will be different- I mean the full field “Thursday field” (I understand the cut that happens after a Friday…). Do they need to apply for a spot to play? Is it based on ranking?

Answer by googie
There are a certain number of players who are exempt from qualifying. So if they desire to play they fill the field as one of 154 players. who then play to make the cut at 72 players. A hole by hole playoff will be played if necessary to pare the field to 72.

Answer by Clubhouse Joe
You’d be surprised at how different almost every tournament fills its field. From the winners-only Mercedes-Benz to the international flavor of WGC events to the majors to the limited field events like the Memorial and Arnie’s Invite to THE PLAYERS to the playoffs, no tournament is the same. I could literally write thousands of words to answer your question in detail but for regular events like this week’s Wyndham Championship, it’s about as standard as it gets.

All tour members fall into a priority ranking, the link for which you can find below (although it hasn’t been updated for in-season changes). Golfers must call in their intent to play by 5:00 p.m. ET the Friday before the event or within 30 minutes following play that same day. Using the allotment of tee times offered for the event (the Wyndham offers 156), golfers’ ranking will determine if they make the field. If they don’t, they fall into alternate status for the week. Most regular tournaments also offer spots for sponsor’s exemptions, foreign exemptions and Monday qualifiers. Golfers can also gain entry into the next open event via Top 10 the preceding week if they aren’t already eligible.

Furthermore, categories 24 and 29 at the link below will undergo reshuffles at specific times of the year. For example, what you see listed at category 24 is how the list looked at the start of the season; however, there have been four reshuffles since and one more is yet to occur (currently, Nicholas Thompson leads this category). The reshuffles allow guys to improve their status, which allows them a better opportunity to set their schedules, not to mention peace of mind.

Other unique ways some non-majors fill fields (by no means is this comprehensive):

· Sony Open offers two invitiations to professional golfers from China, Korea, India or other emerging market.
· Arnie’s Invite and the AT&T National offer one spot to the reigning U.S. Amateur champ.
· the Heritage, among others, offers a spot to the current winner of the PGA Section Championship or the current PGA Section Player of the Year where the tournament is played, as determined by the Section.
· the Colonial reserves spots for the Top 15 and ties from the same event the previous year.
· the Memorial has a spot available for the Division I Player of the Year as selected by the Golf Coaches Association of America.

Finally, most regular events will reserve tee times in multiples of three (120, 132, 144, 156, 180) so you’ll never see a field of 154 (as suggested by another answer). That will only occur if two golfers withdraw from a field of 156 before teeing off and no alternates were on site to take their place. (The Bob Hope and Children’s Miracle Network Classic reserve 128 tee times but they use multiple courses.)

Answer by ?
It’s largely based on how well a player plays the previous year and the early part of the next year. For example, if a player wins a tournament during the season, they automatically qualify for the tournament the following week as well as the season beginning Mercedes Championship which is a tournament for players who won on the PGA Tour the previous year. Earn enough money and you qualify for invitational events(Arnie’s tournament, Jack’s tournament, World Golf Championships,etc) If you’re ranked in the top 30, you can play in whatever tournament you want. Players of that caliber are independent contractors and develop their own schedules. Players finishing outside of the top 125 have to go to qualifying school to earn the tour cards for the following year. Certain players can use exemptions given by sponsors or use past wins(usually major tournament wins, Player’s Championship, or career earnings).


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