Hyung-sung Kim has earned an exemption into the 2014 World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship.
The 33-year-old native of South Korea finished second on the Japan Golf Tour's Order of Merit. While he trailed earnings leader Hideki Matsuyama by over 75 million yen, the top two in money received tee times at the TPC Blue Monster Course on March 6-9. Kim has made only one start in an official PGA TOUR event, missing the cut at the 2013 Open Championship, but he also competed at the WGC-HSBC Champions last year (T56).
For finishing atop the Order of Merit on the Japan Golf Tour, Hideki Matsuyama is now exempt into the 2014 World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship.
He would have qualified via the Official World Golf Ranking anyway, but his eligibility is already official thanks to a dominating season on his home circuit. Matsuyama banked over 201 million yen in 18 events. That was in excess than 75 million yen more than Hyung-sung Kim in second place. (The top two in earnings are awarded exemptions into the WGC-Cadillac.) To put Matsuyama's margin into perspective, it alone would have ranked 10th on the Order of Merit. The 21-year-old will be making his debut at TPC Blue Monster at Doral, although he'll be 22 years young by the time the tournament rolls around in March. The phenom will celebrate his birthday on Feb. 25.
David Toms finished the 2013 season ranked 108th on the PGA TOUR money list despite failing to crack the top 125 in the FedExCup standings.
Consider the LSU product among the relieved that the money list still had a place in deciding full status for 2013-14. As more and more metrics rely only on the FedExCup standings, the money list is morphing into a thing of the past. He made 10 of 16 cuts in 2013, but was also devoting time to getting his golf academy off the ground during his off weeks. He's made each of his two cuts in 2013-14.
Ryan Palmer secured 17 of 22 cuts, with six top 25s and four top 10s in 2013 while earning $1,521,592 in the process.
For full-season gamers, Palmer is a steady option. He lacks the media coverage and star power of other players with similar abilities, but consistently turns in steady results. Case in point, he has earned at least $1.5 million in each of the last four seasons, cresting with $2,985,296 in 2010. Invest, and then watch as the results roll in.
Danny Lee is back for a second crack at the PGA TOUR after once again navigating the Web.com Tour successfully.
Lee competed four times in the Fall Series, making two of four cuts, sharing 33rd at the Frys.com Open and tying for 40th at The McGladrey Classic. In 47 career starts, he has just one top 10. Despite a strong amateur résumé and relative success on the Web.com Tour, he hasn't proven an ability to put it all together on the game's biggest stage with any consistency. Unless he posts a win, he will be subject to the reshuffle all season.
James Hahn returns for a second season on the PGA TOUR due in large part to the work he did on the 2013 West Coast Swing.
During that run, Hahn tied for fourth at the Humana Challenge, danced his way to a share of 16th at the Waste Management Phoenix Open and tied for third at Pebble Beach. His only other top 25 came in the form of a T23 at the Reno-Tahoe Open. As a resident of California, perhaps it shouldn't come as a big surprise that essentially all of his success came west of the Rockies.
Ben Curtis remains fully exempt on the PGA TOUR for the 2013-14 season thanks to his win at the 2012 Valero Texas Open.
A win in a PGA TOUR event allows for full exemption for the remainder of that season as well as the subsequent two. Curtis needed that extra year, failing to finish inside the top 125 on either the money list or the FedExCup standings in 2013. His 2013-14 campaign started off a little better. He made three of four cuts with a T32 at The McGladrey Classic accounting for his best effort.
Stephen Ames has full status on the PGA TOUR for 2013-14 by virtue of a one-time career earnings exemption.
Any player inside the top 50 on the all-time money list is afforded one mulligan if he fails to retain full playing privileges, and Ames has chosen to use his this season. Since he turns 50 in April, it makes perfect sense that he would burn it now rather than save it for some unknown reason. He made one of four cuts thus far, tying for 48th at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open on the heels of an opening-round 65.