The FedEx Cup playoffs start Thursday on the PGA Tour with a 125-player field in The Barclays, but players with Louisiana ties will be hard to find.
Only former University High golfer Patrick Reed and former LSU golfer John Peterson, the 2011 NCAA individual champion, made it into the playoffs. Other golfers, like former LSU All-American and 2001 PGA champion David Toms, former LSU golfers Andrew Loupe and Smylie Kaufman and former Tulane golfer Michael Thompson will have to find other ways to earn full exempt status for the 2015-16 PGA Tour season.
Reed enters the playoffs as a top contender numerically. He’s eighth in FedEx Cup points, as well as a solid seventh in standings for this year’s U.S. Presidents Cup team.
Reed won the Tournament of Champions in January, but since losing a playoff to Jordan Spieth in March in the Valspar Championship, Reed’s season has been stuck in neutral. His best finish since was a tie for 14th at the U.S. Open in June, where he was tied with eventual champion Spieth for the 36-hole lead.
The FedEx playoffs go from 125 players at The Barclays to 100 players next week at the Deutsche Bank Championship to 70 at the BMW Championship. Only 30 players make it to the Tour Championship the final week of September in Atlanta.
Reed is likely to make it all the way through. Peterson, who starts 93rd in points, will have to turn in some improving performances to even advance to the Deutsche Bank.
Peterson has had a solid if unspectacular season, earning $779,509. He’s had seven top 25 finishes in 24 starts but never cracked the top 10, finishing a best tie for 11th in March in the Texas Open.
Two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson, whose caddy is Lafayette native Ted Scott, is third in the FedEx Cup standings after a two-win regular season.
Meanwhile, the Web.com Tour is in its final week before its four-event Finals get under way. The top 25 players in earnings automatically earn their PGA Tour playing privileges for next season, with the top 25 players in the Finals also getting PGA Tour cards.
With a win and $245,748 in earnings, Kaufman is fifth on the Web.com Tour money list and a virtual lock to get his PGA Tour card.
Loupe, who split his time between the PGA and Web.com tours, will have to work for his PGA Tour card ranking only 127th in Web.com earnings entering this week. Fellow former Tiger Curtis Thompson, brother of LPGA star Lexi Thompson, ranks 68th.
Toms and Michael Thompson finished 144th and 146th in FedEx Cup standings, will have some limited exempt status. However Toms, who is seventh in career PGA Tour earnings with just over $41 million, could use a career earnings exemption to keep his card for 2015-16.
Follow Scott Rabalais on Twitter: @RabalaisAdv.