Jimmy Walker unloads on PGA Tour fall format, blames communication

by Joanne Miller

Jimmy Walker Criticizes New FedEx Fall Format

Jimmy Walker, a major champion and six-time PGA Tour winner, recently voiced his frustration with the new FedEx Fall format, which is leaving him on the outside looking in for the next season. Walker, 44, finished the regular season at No. 124 in the FedEx Cup standings, a position that had previously allowed players to retain their playing privileges for the following year.

However, with the introduction of the new FedEx Fall format, the top 70 players now qualify for the next year, while players ranked 71-125 compete in a seven-event fall series to determine who will return in 2024. This change has left Walker feeling disappointed and discontented.

“They changed the rules. It’s been 125 forever. Then it’s like, no, it’s 50, or is it 70? It’s definitely not 125. It’s total bulls—, that’s what I think,” Walker expressed his frustration after shooting a third-round 69 to tie for 18th at the Fortinet Championship. “I’ve been working for 11 months to finish 124 and it’s like, nope, keep playing. So I’m going to give it all I’ve got. That’s all I can do.”

Walker, whose most recent victory was the 2016 PGA Championship, had contemplated retiring a year ago due to health issues related to Lyme disease. However, when some players left for LIV Golf and were removed from PGA Tour records, Walker found himself ranked 50th in career earnings. This granted him a one-year exemption, which he utilized this season.

During the previous season, Walker participated in 25 events but missed the cut in 15 of them. His highest finish was 13th at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines. Although he received congratulatory messages for finishing in the top 125, he knew it wasn’t adequate to secure his spot for next season.

“I can’t tell you how many people texted me saying congrats on making the 125,” Walker shared. “I’m like, ‘No, man, it’s different.’ I had to explain. They’ve done such a bad job communicating what is happening, partly because I don’t think they knew what was happening, honestly.

“It’s been one way forever. LIV and the Saudis happen, and a lot of things change, and everybody freaks out, and we sign an agreement that stops litigation. I don’t know what’s going on. They’re talking about a big payout for the players that have stayed. All of it is blowing my mind.”

Walker expressed his disappointment with the absence of PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan at the PGA event over the weekend, where he could have sought answers to his questions. However, despite the uncertainty and frustration, Walker remains focused on performing well in the fall events to secure his spot for the upcoming year.

“It’s not a strategy,” Walker emphasized. “It’s my job, my card.”

The significant changes to the FedEx Fall format have clearly left Jimmy Walker feeling unsure and critical of the new system. As the PGA Tour seeks to adapt in a swiftly evolving golfing landscape, ensuring better communication to players like Walker becomes crucial to maintaining a positive relationship and a fair playing field.

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