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The uncertain landscape of men’s professional golf isn’t the only contentious topic dominating talk on the driving ranges of the PGA Tour right now. 

A growing pattern for the sponsors invites to the PGA Tour’s most lucrative ‘Signature Events’ is also causing concern over the meritocracy that the US circuit prides itself on.

At the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am last month, Golfweek spoke to multiple anonymous players who called the exemptions into the $20million showpiece as “fishy and “shady.”

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And as the tour prepares for its fourth limited-field Signature Event, the Arnold Palmer Invitational, American pro Dylan Wu has taken to social media to express his frustration with the situation.

Adam Scott and Webb Simpson, who both serve as PGA Tour player directors, have both received sponsor exemptions this week for the tournament at Bay Hill. It is Scott’s third invite to a Signature Event and Simpson’s second.

That has not gone down well with Wu, who has suggested that players are only getting invites to tournaments based on their position on the PGA Tour’s board.

“Great players and major champions. I can’t say much because I missed the cut hard this week but getting more than one sponsor exemption into elevated events doesn’t seem fair,” Wu wrote on X.

“Seems like if you’re a player director, you’ll get an invite into an elevated event. Seems suspect. And trust me, they’re both great players that probably deserve it but this new model is all about meritocracy.

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“Sponsor exemptions going to the same players every elevated event doesn’t seem to follow the “play better” saying. Seems like “be more famous” or “know the right people.”

Wu, who has missed cuts in half of his six events this season, was keen to stress that he isn’t the victim this week after missing out on an invite of his own.

“I’m not saying I deserve an exemption in any way,” he insisted. “I don’t and must play better to get into the elevated events.

“There’s 8 this year. The points in these big events are worth 2.5x more and purses are double with half the field size. That makes these exemptions so important!”


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Ben Parsons joined bunkered as a Content Producer in 2023 and is the man to come to for all of the latest news, across both the professional and amateur games. Formerly of The Mirror and Press Association, he is a member at Halifax Golf Club and is a long-suffering fan of both Manchester United and the Wales rugby team.

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