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There’s never been a better time to play on the PGA Tour.

With prize purses bursting through the roof and limited-field Signature Events boasting $20 million purses, rewards are at an all-time high.

Jay Monahan’s circuit set out to give players a chance to play their way into the elevated tournaments, assembling the ultimate fields whereby the game’s elite are ever-present.

So, what happens when the world No. 227 finds his way in? Well, it leaves Monahan with plenty of disgruntled fans.

Bearing that criticism has been Webb Simpson, a PGA Tour player director, who has now been granted a spot in four of the six Signature Events in 2024.

The former U.S. Open champion will make his latest start in the big-money events this week at Quail Hollow and has hit back at critics over receiving sponsor’s exemptions.

• Rory McIlroy denied return to the PGA Tour board

• Six LIV golfers receive PGA Championship invite

Despite sitting 152nd in the FedEx Cup standings, Simpson argues his participation has nothing to do with holding a seat at the top table.

“I know that I’ve gotten, this is my fourth sponsor exemption, and Adam Scott’s received his fair share,” he said.

“There was controversy and guys were trying to link us being on the board, but it has nothing to do with me being on the board.”

Simpson lives in Charlotte – where the Wells Fargo Championship is based – and believes his connection to the area as well as his relationships with tournament directors is enough to grant him a spot.

Meanwhile, the 38-year-old’s current tenure on the Policy Board began in 2023 and runs through to 2025.

• Tournament boss calls for Rory McIlroy to prevent player “ruining” PGA Tour

• US Open chief hints at future exemptions for LIV Golf stars

“These tournament directors are working round the clock for a year trying to make their tournament the best,” he added.

“We want to give them the opportunity to say, ‘Hey, you have a few spots, four spots in these Signature Events to be able to invite who you want to invite.’”

Simpson admits the criticism doesn’t faze him, as there are things he is “way more interested in”, but the PGA Tour’s Chief Competitions Officer Tyler Dennis is aware of the dilemma.

Dennis says the Policy Board will review several points during its summer meeting, including ‘retention rates and the aspirational nature of the PGA Tour’.

“We’re gonna look at all of that and I’m sure sponsor exemptions will be one of those things and see what, if any, changes might be made for the 2025 season,” he said.

author headshot

John Turnbull A graduate of the University of Stirling, John joined the bunkered team in 2023 as a Content Producer, with a responsibility for covering all breaking news, tour news, grassroots content and much more besides. A keen golfer, he plays the majority of his golf at Falkirk Golf Club. Top of his 'bucket list' is a round of Pebble Beach... ideally in the company of Gareth Bale.

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