Why Cameron Young (and a few other winless players this year) just got a nice early Christmas present
The PGA Tour's annual Tournament of Champions is no longer just for champions.
In a Tuesday press release touting an extension of the event's title sponsor, Sentry, through 2035, this little nugget about the annual tour stop at Kapalua was also revealed:
"The Sentry Tournament of Champions field includes all winners of official PGA TOUR events in the preceding calendar year, and beginning in 2023, will also include the top 30 players from the FedExCup Playoffs Points List who qualify for the TOUR Championship in recognition of the outstanding performance required throughout the FedExCup Season to advance to East Lake."
Previously, only winners from the preceding year qualified for the event that kicks off the calendar year on the PGA Tour. Meaning golfers who are playing in this week's Tour Championship despite not winning in 2022 all just got a nice early Christmas present in the form of a trip to Hawaii in January.
So who benefitted from this change? Cameron Young, Collin Morikawa, Adam Scott, Scott Stallings, Corey Conners, Brian Harman, Aaron Wise and Sahith Theegala. Of course, all eight of those players still have one more chance to get a win this week, but they'll be starting behind FedEx Cup Playoffs leader Scottie Scheffler.
The tour didn't specify why the change was made, but there were nine multiple winners this season. And there are a handful of winners who have joined LIV Golf or are rumored to be joining, including defending Sentry TOC champ Cameron Smith.
Young, a runner-up five times this season including at the Open Championship, and Theegala are the only two rookies in the field at East Lake this week. And Young, who is the first player with seven top-three finishes without a win since Payne Stewart in 1993, also has the distinction of making the most money in a season without a win.
Morikawa is the most surprising name on the list considering he began 2022 ranked No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. The two-time major champ has two runner-ups this year, but was unable to add to his five career PGA Tour titles.
In addition to getting into the Sentry TOC, all 30 qualifiers for the Tour Championship are also guaranteed spots in all four 2023 majors as well as the Scottish Open, Arnold Palmer Invitational, Genesis Invitational, and the Memorial.