The LPGA has announced that the top ten finishers on the Futures Tour money list will earn LPGA membership for 2009, up from the five that were previously awarded. Players 1 through 5 will have Category 9 status while Players 6 through 10 will have Category 17 status. This is great news for the players who have been battling for those precious five spots this year.
The Tour is changing its status designations to a priority scale, apparently in order to simplify the process of filling out fields (especially limited ones). The only designations I’ve seen so far are these:
7 - Non-member win category
Ji-Yai Shin will be a 7
9 - Futures Tour Top 5 category
10 - Non-member Top 80 category
Michelle Wie and Stacy Lewis were trying to make it this way
11 - Top 20 Q-School and 81-100 category
alternately, the best Q-School finishers and numbers 81-100 on the LPGA money list
16 - Q-School 21-30 category
17 - Futures Tour 6-10 category
20 - Q-School 31-40 category
Evidently tournament fields will get filled by taking the players in Category 1 (whatever that definition is), then Category 2, and so on until all the spots are taken. So the extra five Futures Tour spots are rather low on the totem pole but at least they become Tour members. I’m anxiously awaiting the explanations of the other categories.
UPDATE: Didn't have to wait very long! The Constructivist received a link to a memo buried at lpga.com explaining all of the categories and has also posted a great explainer to what they mean. I'll tackle the categories myself once it all soaks in.