Major champion and six-time PGA Tour winner Jimmy Walker sounded off on the new FedEx Fall format, which currently has him on the outside looking in for next season.
Walker, 44, ended the regular season at No. 124 in FedEx Cup standings, which in the past had been enough to retain playing privileges the following season.
However, with the new FedEx Fall format, only the top 70 players qualify for the following year while Nos. 71-125 compete in a seven-event fall series to determine who will return in 2024.
“They changed the rules. It’s been 125 forever. Then it’s like, no, it’s 50, or is it 70? It’s definitely not 125. It’s total bulls–t, that’s what I think,” Walker said Saturday after shooting a third-round 69 to tie for 18th at the Fortinet Championship. “I’ve been working for 11 months to finish 124 and it’s like, nope, keep playing. So, I’m going to give it all I’ve got. That’s all I can do.”
Walker, whose last victory was the 2016 PGA Championship, considered retiring a year ago due to health issues stemming from Lyme disease. But when players left the PGA Tour for LIV Golf and were erased from PGA Tour records, Walker found himself 50th in career earnings. That granted him a one-year exemption, which he used this season.
Walker missed 15 cuts in the 25 events he participated in, finishing as high as 13th in the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines. He received accolades congratulating him for finishing in the top 125, though he knew it wasn’t enough to qualify for next season.
“I can’t tell you how many people texted me saying congrats on making the 125,” Walker said. “I’m like, ‘No man, it’s different.’ I had to explain. They’ve done such a bad job communicating what is happening, partly because I don’t think they knew what was happening, honestly.
“It’s been one way forever. LIV and the Saudis happen and a lot of things change, and everybody freaks out and we sign an agreement that stops litigation. I don’t know what’s going on. They’re talking about a big payout for the players that have stayed. All of it is blowing my mind. The tour is doing everything they can to take care of themselves and not for the players. I’m just out here grinding, giving it all I’ve got. I’ve given them 20-some-odd years out here, you know.”
Walker is left with questions that have gone unanswered, and he expressed his disappointment that PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan wasn’t at this weekend’s PGA event to answer those inquiries.
In the meantime, Walker is focused on playing well in the fall events to secure his spot for next year.
“It’s not a strategy,” Walker said. “It’s my job, my card.”
–Field Level Media