RSM Classic Brings the controversial 2023 PGA Tour Season to a close

Rory McIlroy, 2023 Travelers Championship,(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Rory McIlroy, 2023 Travelers Championship,(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

Finally, the contentious 2023 PGA Tour season is coming to a close at the RSM Classic.

By the end of the day Sunday, all kinds of decisions will have been made for 125 players, based on their finishes and based on the play of opponents. It’s convoluted. Really convoluted.

The winner of the RSM will gain entry into the Sentry Tournament of Champions, according to PGA Tour staff at the RSM. That’s the easy part.

Those in the top 50 in FedEx points for 2023 are in the fast lane for the biggest events, the signature tournaments, for 2024.

Those who finished in the Next Ten – 51 to 60 in FedEx points in the fall after the RSM Classic — get a chance to participate in the second and third signature events. What a great way to move up in point-getting.

"Those who have five-year exemptions from winning majors may not be able to enter Signature events."

Those who were eligible for the Tour Championship – top 30 – are exempt for majors. But the majors have other criteria that have nothing to do with PGA Tour finishes. The Masters, for example, takes top 50 in the world rankings, winners of PGA Tour events, and winners of some other events and some amateur titles.

PGA Tour, RSM Classic, Golf Majors, FedEx Cup Fall, Signature Events
Wyndham Clark, 2023 Open Championship, Royal Liverpool, Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

The U.S. Open takes the top 30 from 2023 — basically those who qualified for the Tour Championship — and those in the top 60 in world rankings. The PGA Championship takes winners and the top 100 in world rankings.

The Next Ten can play in the second and third Signature events. The Next Ten are those who finished 51-60 by adding their points in FedEx Fall events to the points they had after the BMW. Then after the first three Signature Events, the Next Ten changes to the top ten in current year FedEx points.

Those in the top 125 can enter any regular PGA Tour event, starting with the Sony Open, and work their way up to the top events, based on their play during the year.

The top 125 are exempt into The Players Championship.

Those from 125 to 150 have conditional PGA Tour status.

That means if the field has more than 125 players or if fewer than 125 PGA Tour players enter a tournament with that size field, then those from 125 to 150 might get an invitation to play if the tournament’s entry categories are not filled. That has not changed.

Tournament winners in 2024 are exempt to PGA Tour events and Signature events for the rest of that season.

Those who have five-year exemptions from winning majors may not be able to enter Signature events, depending on how many FedEx points they had at the end of the previous season.

So, a winner of the U.S. Open two years ago, for instance, who, in the past, would have had an automatic hall pass for all of this year’s PGA Tour events, would not get an automatic entry. (I asked this twice because it is SOOOO new.) Players not in the top 50 and not in the Next Ten aren’t automatics to the Signature Events, even if they just won two majors two years ago and would ordinarily get a five-year exemption to everything.

And there are some other esoteric categories and exemptions here and there that will not affect most players.

Next. 3 Who Could Earn Breakthrough Win at RSM Classic. dark

So, in 2023, we had continued intrigue. Legal battles. Legal settlements. Name-calling. New major winners. Some hurt feelings here and there. And some actual great golf.

It’s a new world for 2024.