PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – D.A. Points arrived at TPC Sawgrass on Monday, played an 18-hole practice round and added another nine holes and a few hours of practice on Wednesday to prepare for this week’s Web.com Tour Championship.
Instead of teeing off on Thursday afternoon at 2:09 p.m. (ET), however, Points will watch the finale from his home in central Florida following a bizarre few days.
Points withdrew from the Web.com Tour Championship after receiving criticism from some players for playing the event that will decide the final 25 spots on the PGA Tour next season.
Points is already exempt for the 2014-15 season via his victory at the 2013 Shell Houston Open but because of the way the Tour structured the four-event Web.com Tour Finals he was exempt into the events.
“It was going to be an eight-week break without any competition (since his last PGA Tour start),” Points said. “The Wyndham Championship [T-18] was my best tournament of the year and I felt like I had a better feeling where my game was headed.”
Points was also using this week to audition a new caddie and since TPC Sawgrass is only a 2 1/2-hour drive from his home he figured there would be no harm in his participation.
“I thought unless I finish in the top 4 or 5 it wouldn’t make a difference [with the final money list], but then guys were on me about it,” Points said. “I understand that and that’s not why I’m here. I’ve got a lot of friends who are playing in this. I’m not here to keep anybody from getting a job.”
Points is not the first exempt Tour player to participate in the Finals. Ben Curtis played the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship last year but since that was the third Finals event, and he missed the cut, it went virtually unnoticed.
Given the level of concern Points’ start caused this week it seems possible the tour will address the issue in the future.
“We made some tweaks to the Finals this year from last and we will certainly talk about how to improve the system for next year,” said Web.com Tour president Bill Calfee. “We talked about this possibility where a player is exempt for the tour and maybe he had an off year. We felt like it would be hard to tell that player he couldn’t play based on that criteria. We shouldn’t be in the position of denying a player an opportunity to make his living playing golf.
“I applaud D.A. for realizing this. I know he got some flak from the players but he’s looking out for what’s best for the tour overall.”