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Veteran rips PGA Tour’s ‘bass-ackwards’ changes

Jimmy Walker isn’t too happy.

The 44-year-old veteran, who enters Sunday’s final round of the Fortinet Championship at T-18 on the leaderboard, shared his frustrations with Golfweek’s Adam Schupak in an article published on Saturday evening, calling the PGA Tour’s recent changes “really bass-ackwards.”

At No. 124 in FedExCup points following the regular season, Walker didn’t qualify for the playoffs this year. In previous seasons, Walker would’ve still kept his full card for the next season, which for over a decade now had begun with the fall-opening event in Napa, California, but starting this season, the Tour chose to transition back into a calendar-year schedule, meaning this year’s fall portion would be an extension of the 2022-23 season. Future falls will feature a similar battle to retain status among Nos. 71 and beyond.

That means that Walker is still playing for his job.

“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---, that’s what I think of it,” Walker told Golfweek. “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 added that he believes the Tour has “done such a bad job communicating what is happening, partly because I don’t think they knew what was happening, honestly.” He also was miffed that he wouldn’t be able to play Pebble Beach, an event he’s won in the past, next year because the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am has been converted into a signature event with a limited field. (Tournament directors of signature events still have four sponsor invites at their disposal for Tour members not already exempt.)

“It’s been one way forever,” Walker continued. “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.”

The Tour announced the changes to the FedExCup and fall season in June 2022.

Walker is playing this season on a top-50 career money exemption, which was afforded to him only after several LIV Golf players were removed from the Tour’s career money list.

He’s currently projected to climb to No. 118 in points.