I was reshuffled on Monday.
If you're not familiar with the way the PGA Tour works, here's a quick explanation: I'm part of a category of 50 players on Tour who either qualified to be here through the Nationwide Tour (the tournament circuit below the PGA) or Q-School. Based on how we finished last year, we entered the PGA Tour ranked. After a tournament has been filled with past winners and the top 125 players on the previous year's Money List, then my group fills the rest of slots in order according to our ranking. My number coming in was 26, which meant I had a good chance of getting into every tournament thus far.
Oh, how things change.
About every six events, the Tour looks at this list of players and reshuffles it according to how much money we've made so far. If you've played well enough, you don't need to worry about the reshuffle because your standing won't change much.
I'm now at the back of the pack, to put it bluntly. The waaay back. And that means that my schedule is going to get even more unpredictable.
Since I didn't make the cut to get into the Honda Classic in Palm Beach this week, I had a choice to make: Fly home to Knoxville with my wife and enjoy a week off, or fly to BogotÃ¡, Colombia, to work my tail off playing a Nationwide event.
Traveling to BogotÃ¡ was an easy decision. The way things are going, I can't just play practice holes at home; I need to play under tournament conditions.
This is the first time in my career where I've been reshuffled all the way to the bottom of the list. (Last year on the Nationwide Tour, I played well enough so I didn't have to think about it.) And it's a huge reality check. And, well, a little brutal to see. Our names are now stacked top to bottom in terms of performance on the course and what we did last year has very little to do with where we stand now.
It's kind of like an extreme performance review that's then posted on the Web for everyone to see -- with my earnings right next to it ($0, in case you were wondering.) But that's the nature of this job.
On the bright side, the season is long -- it goes until November. As the season winds down, fewer people will play, which means you can get into more tournaments and hopefully boost your earnings. I just keep telling myself, all it takes is one good week to move up.
Being patient is one of the hardest parts to this job. But it's helped me get this far.