Report: PGA Tour Policy Board exploring special exemption for ...

14 Jun 2024

Tiger Woods is playing in the 2024 U.S. Open on a special exemption, well-earned many would say after three wins in the national championship, nine career USGA titles and 82 PGA Tour victories in his storied career. The same could be said for a "Lifetime Achievement" exemption potentially in the offing on the PGA Tour beginning next year.

According to a report by’s Sean Zak, the PGA Tour Policy Board will review a proposal next week during a regular meeting at the Travelers Championship in which Woods would be eligible to get into the tour’s $20 million signature events.

Woods already has lifetime membership on tour thanks to his career victory total. But that status does not allow him to compete in the tour’s signature events, which have their own specific criteria for eligibility. The only way currently for Woods to play in them would be to receive one of four sponsor's exemptions offered into each event; that's how he was in the field in February at the Genesis Invitational, the tournament he hosts and that benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation. Those exemptions, however, have become valuable—and controversial—commodities as several high-profile players also not eligible for the signature events have written letters hoping to gain entry into the tour’s big money tournaments.

Rather than have Woods use one of those four, the idea would be that he would have his own separate exemption, justified by his 15-major résumé.

The report cited the PGA Tour’s Greensheet newsletter, sent to PGA Tour players updating them on various tour news, in which it outlined that the PGA Tour’s Player Advisory Council supported the additional special exemption, discussing it during their May 21 meeting at the Charles Schwab Challenge.

“These [original four sponsor’s] exemptions are intended to capture players who are important to the tournament sponsor but who are not otherwise qualified,” the Greensheet newsletter stated. “To maximize these spots for the membership and to provide optimal flexibility for the tournament sponsor, the PAC supported adding an additional sponsor exemption recognizing Tiger Woods in his own category as a player who has reached an exceptional lifetime achievement threshold of 80+ career wins.”

Woods is one of the six players on the 11-person Policy Board. Whether he would recuse himself from a vote on the exemption is unclear. The discussion of Woods’ exemption reportedly will be part of a broader discussion about what the look of the tour’s signature events in 2025.

The other question unanswered at this point is how often might Woods take advantage of the exemption in the future. Since his car accident in 2021, Woods has played in just eight official PGA Tour events, only two that weren't majors. Woods said at the end of 2023 that he hoped to be healthy enough to play monthly in 2024, but that hasn't happened. Woods had to withdraw during the second round of the Genesis in February due to an illness. He played in the Masters in April, making the cut but finishing 60th before missing the cut in May at the PGA Championship.

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