There’s 1 thing missing from the PGA Tour’s strategic alliance, and it hurt Rasmus Hojgaard
Last Sunday’s season finales on the DP World Tour and PGA Tour showcased one of the new fruits of the two tours’ strategic alliance.
For the first time, the 10 highest finishers in the DP World Tour’s 2023 Race to Dubai not otherwise exempt earned PGA Tour cards for the 2024 season.
This means players like noted Ryder Cup snub Adrian Meronk, Scottish Open darling Robert MacIntyre and New Zealand’s Ryan Fox will all, should they accept, be playing among the game’s best in the United States next season as full PGA Tour members.
Nicolai Hojgaard, who won the DP World Tour Championship, and Min Woo Lee are two other DP World Tour members who earned PGA Tour cards through Special Temporary membership this season.
And while we’ll see plenty of Nicolai on the PGA Tour next season, we likely won’t see as much of his twin brother, Rasmus.
Rasmus entered the DP World Tour’s final event last week in a precarious position as the 10th-highest-ranked player in the Race to Dubai who didn’t have PGA Tour membership and was projected to hold that spot entering the fourth round.
“I have two choices given the situation I find myself in,” Rasmus told Golf Digest last Friday, before the weekend in Dubai. “I can either cope with it or not. I came out today in a good mood. I knew I needed a low score that would carry me up the leaderboard. That Nicolai already has his card doesn’t really affect me. Obviously, I want to join him over there. It would make traveling and playing a lot more fun. But the pressure is not coming from there. It is more what I am demanding of myself. It is a big goal to make it onto the PGA Tour. And I’m in the middle of it now. We’ll just have to see how the next two days play out. I’ll be giving it everything I have.”
Rasmus shot 65-69 on the weekend at the DP World Tour Championship to finish T11, but it wasn’t enough. Matthieu Pavon birdied the final four holes of his final round to jump Rasmus, both in the tournament and the season-long standings.
Rasmus ended up missing his PGA Tour card by less than 30 points.
What makes matters worse, if Rasmus still wanted to earn membership for 2024 and join his brother, his options are extremely limited.
With the PGA Tour season also concluding last weekend at the RSM Classic and the Korn Ferry Tour season finishing last month, the only remaining PGA Tour cards available are the five at stake at next month’s PGA Tour Q-School.
However, despite being the No. 86 player in the world and finishing 18th in the Race to Dubai standings, Rasmus has no exemption into the Final Stage of PGA Tour Q-School. He was exempt into the second stage by virtue of his World Ranking, but the entry deadline was October 9th. A PGA Tour spokesperson confirmed he was not in the field as of Tuesday.
The only exemption into Q-School for DP World Tour members is for the First Stage, which was in mid-October.
That’s in contrast to other global tours, such as the South African Sunshine Tour, the PGA Tour of Australasia and the Korean PGA Tour, whose top points leaders are exempted into Final Stage. While the DP World Tour awards 10 PGA Tour cards, it would make sense, for those who just fall short to be given another chance at Q-School if they so chose.
Rasmus, like Jorge Fernández Valdés, the No. 31 finisher on the Korn Ferry points list, finished just one spot outside a PGA Tour card. But Fernández Valdés, like the rest of the players who finished 31-60 in the Korn Ferry Tour standings, is able to go straight to the final stage of Q-School.
This is the first year of DP World Tour players being awarded PGA Tour cards, as well as the first year those who finish 126-200 in the FedEx Cup standings can take up DP World Tour membership, so there are bound to be some kinks. It’s also the first time in 10 years that Q-School is once again awarding PGA Tour membership.
There’s also no guarantee Rasmus would secure his PGA Tour through Q-School, but those who miss PGA Tour membership by mere points through other means are given the chance to try.
If the PGA Tour’s strategic alliance with the DP World Tour truly goes both ways, then those who just miss out on PGA Tour cards through the DP World Tour need to be granted exemptions into the final stage of Q-School.