Ian Pouter maintains tour status for season

Ian Poulter is keeping his PGA Tour card after all.

The Englishman last week believed he had failed in his final attempt to keep his membership for the rest of the season when he missed the cut at the Valero Texas Open and fell short of the money or FedEx Cup point totals necessary to fulfill the criteria of his major medical extension.

But Brian Gay -- facing a similar scenario -- brought to the PGA Tour's attention how a change in the points structure this year unfairly affected the outcome. PGA Tour officials studied the situation and came to the conclusion that Poulter had fulfilled the requirement and is now exempt for the rest of this year.

"It's obviously a bit of good news," Poulter, 41, told reporters on Saturday in New Orleans, where he was competing in the Zurich Classic. "For the Tour to unanimously decide that was the fair thing to do today puts me in a very different situation for playing my schedule and playing all the remaining events I'd like to play to keep going in the right direction."

Poulter tweeted the letter he received from the PGA Tour informing him of its decision and thanked Gay for his help.

The PGA Tour this year has moved away from the money list for determining who is exempt based on the top 125 positions. Hence, it tweaked the FedEx Cup points structure, significantly reducing the number of points awarded for finishing between 15th and 68th in a tournament.

But as the tour noted, the new points structure "unintentionally made it more difficult for these players to retain their exempt status." Under the old system, Poulter would have kept his card and Gay, who dug into the numbers, would have qualified for the Players Championship.

Poulter played just 13 times in the 2015-16 season because of a foot injury. The tour gave him 10 events to earn 218 FedEx Cup points or $347,634 and remain exempt for the rest of this season. He came up about $30,000 short in the money category.

Now that he is fully exempt, Poulter will turn his attention to trying to finish this season among the top 125 in points, which would mean a full exempt status for the 2016-17 season. He is currently ranked 129th in FedEx Cup points.