After the Tour Championship concluded last Sunday, six PGA Tour players made the jump to LIV Golf. Cameron Smith, Joaquin Niemann, Marc Leishman, Anirban Lahiri, Cameron Tringale, and Harold Varner III were all suspended by the PGA Tour once they hit their opening tee shots in the LIV Golf Invitational in Boston on Friday, which caused a ripple effect that made a former Masters champion very, very happy.
Because the six LIV Golf defectors were removed from the Tour’s Eligibility Points List this week, Danny Willett and five other golfers moved inside the top 125 and secured their PGA Tour cards for next season. That’s a career-saving update for those players, and it’s all thanks to LIV Golf.
The recent LIV Golf defectors opened up six PGA Tour spots
The PGA Tour wastes no time banning players who bail for LIV Golf. Commissioner Jay Monahan has decided to suspend every golfer from the PGA Tour immediately after they hit their first tee shot with the LIV Golf Invitational Series.
That was exactly the case for the newest crop of defectors, as Smith, Niemann, Leishman, Lahiri, Tringale, and Varner were all removed from the PGA Tour’s Eligibility Points List on Friday. Considering all six players finished the season inside the top 125 in the FedEx Cup standings, that meant six PGA Tour cards immediately became up for grabs.
The top 125 is a crucial number in professional golf. Every golfer who finishes inside the magic number secures their full PGA Tour cards for the following season. The players who finish just outside of the top 125 are guaranteed limited status, but they can earn back their cards by finishing inside the top 25 in the Korn Ferry Tour Finals.
But now, six golfers don’t have to fight for their PGA Tour lives.
Former Masters champ Danny Willett regains PGA Tour card thanks to LIV Golf
Because the six most recent LIV Golf defectors were kicked off the Eligibility Points List, six PGA Tour cards became available for the 2022-23 season. That means Willett, Justin Lower, Matt Wallace, Austin Smotherman, Doc Redman, and Kelly Kraft will move inside the top 125 and secure their full PGA Tour cards for next year.
Most of those names are foreign to casual golf fans, but Willett has a green jacket in his closet. The 2016 Masters champ was in danger of losing his full-time status on the PGA Tour, but the latest crop of LIV Golf defectors may have saved his career.
The six newest LIV Golf members caught a ton of heat for their decision, but six other golfers couldn’t be more thrilled.