Geoff Ogilvy, winner of a U.S. Open and three World Golf Championships, failed to qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs just as his exemption from his eighth and most recent PGA Tour victory ran out.
He thought about playing the Web.com Tour Finals and hasn't entirely ruled it out, though he skipped the first event and is not entered in the second. Instead, he plans to take a one-time exemption for top 50 on the career money list at age 39.
Ogilvy is at No. 28 on the career money list, one spot behind Rory Sabbatini, who also has applied for the career money exemption. However, Sabbatini decided to play in the Web.com Tour Finals and made it pay off quickly. He tied for sixth in the opening event last week and now only needs to make the cut to secure his card.
The career money exemption typically is used late in a player's career as he moves closer to age 50 and PGA Tour Champions eligibility. One notion was to avoid using the exemption too early. This didn't make sense to Ogilvy.
''Guys will take it at the end of their careers as a bridge to the Champions Tour. That's the traditional thought about it,'' he said. ''But at that point, I could play enough tournaments to amuse me at 48 while trying to bridge that gap. But if you're just using it as a bridge, you're not as competitive anymore. That's what I thought about it. This is really what it's for, to get you through a bad patch. What if I never need it again? Then you're asking, 'Why didn't I take it?'''
If he gets his game turned around, Ogilvy could easily move back into the top 25 in career money and save that one-time exemption for another day.
The idea of playing four Web.com Tour Finals events appealed to him because he felt as though he was playing better over the last month. He had three top 25s in his last four events, the best three finishes of his season.
''I felt if I had three or four more weeks, I would have gotten there,'' he said. ''At first, I was thought I would go play the Web.com. But I feel like I want to play a full, regular, normal year. My golf needs one of those. With a Web card, you're not getting in all the tournaments.''
He will start at the Safeway Open, though Ogilvy said he would not fall into the trap of feeling as though he has to play every week because of the one-time exemption.
Carl Pettersson also has filed for the Top 50 career money exemption.