‘It’s total bulls**t, that’s what I think of it’: Major winner rips PGA Tour changes 

Jimmy Walker in July at the Scottish Open.

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Jimmy Walker says a change by the PGA Tour over how playing privileges are determined is “total bulls**t.”

In a story written by Golfweek’s Adam Schupak published Saturday — which you can read in full here — the 2016 PGA Championship winner and 22-year pro also criticized the Tour’s communication to its players, and said that he was frustrated over other changes coming after the Tour’s proposed agreement with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund

But the adjustment to how Tour pros secure playing status drew considerable ire from Walker.  

Starting this year, the top 125 players following the RSM Classic in mid-November will be fully exempt for events next year. Previously, that had been determined in August, at the Wyndham Championship. The change was one of several for this year announced in June of 2022 — a series of events received bigger purses, only the top 70 after the Wyndham locked up privileges for next year and advanced to the Tour’s playoffs, and the top 50 after the second leg of those players will be invited to next year’s big-money tournaments, called “signature events.”

Along with the RSM Classic are six other tournaments to improve standing for the 125 line, and that swing started this week with the Fortinet Championship.   

“They changed the rules,” Walker told Golfweek. “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 of it.”

After this year’s Wyndham, Walker was 124th in the standings. He is playing this year on a one-time, all-time money list exemption — though that required last year’s introduction of an entirely new golf league, Saudi-backed LIV Golf. After the Tour’s Tour Championship last August, Walker was No. 59 on the career Tour earnings list. But when the latest round of defectors from the Tour signed with LIV that week and several players were removed from the list, Walker was suddenly 50th. 

Notably, LIV Golf had also been the main reason behind this year’s tournament and exemption changes — though in June, the Tour and the PIF, LIV’s backer, announced they had agreed to a proposed investment deal, and additional changes could be coming. 

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In the Golfweek story, Walker blasted the Tour’s communication to players. 

“I can’t tell you how many people texted me saying congrats on making the 125,” Walker told Goflweek. “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.”

In the interview with Golfweek, Walker also criticized the exemptions into the “signature events.” Along with the top 50, other avenues are available for players to qualify — the first two signature events (the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and the Genesis Invitational), for example, will also extend invites to those players ranked 51-60 after the tournaments starting with this week’s Fortinet.  

“I’m not going to get to play Pebble Beach next year, a field that’s always had 180 players and I’m a past champion,” Walker said to Golfweek. “I said to Jay [Tour commissioner Jay Monahan], what if San Antonio was an elevated event? You’re going to tell me I live there, I’ve done I don’t know how many pressers for you guys and everything you’ve asked me to do and I can’t play my hometown event? 

“It’s really bass-ackwards right now.”

Editor’s note: To read the entire Golfweek — which includes comments from additional players — please click here.

Nick Piastowski

Nick Piastowski

Golf.com Editor

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at Golf.com and Golf Magazine. In his role, he is responsible for editing, writing and developing stories across the golf space. And when he’s not writing about ways to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native is probably playing the game, hitting the ball left, right and short, and drinking a cold beer to wash away his score. You can reach out to him about any of these topics — his stories, his game or his beers — at nick.piastowski@golf.com.