ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. -- John Daly has a chance to be fully exempt and set his own schedule next year for the first time since 2006.
Just not on the PGA Tour.
After consecutive rounds of 63-87 in Las Vegas contributed to a last-place finish, Daly missed the cut in the Frys.com Open and the McGladrey Classic, losing a great chance at finishing in the top 125 on the PGA Tour money list. He did not ask for an exemption into the final official event at Disney for a couple of reasons -- he never has played particularly well there, and he still has a chance to qualify for the European Tour finale in Dubai.
Daly is No. 88 on the European Tour money list, courtesy of a fourth-place finish in Qatar, along with his tie for 11th in the Sicilian Open and tie for 18th in PGA Championship at Kiawah Island. He is about $226,336 short of the cutoff to qualify for the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, which makes this next month important.
He is playing in Shanghai this week at the BMW Masters, which has a $7 million purse and no cut. Then, he plans to play in Singapore and Hong Kong to try to crack the top 60 and get to Dubai, which would be his 13th event in Europe. The top 118 on the money list get a card. Daly has been playing out of a lower status as a past major champion.
"If I get a card, I can pick and play everything over there," Daly said. "China has no cut, and if I can play halfway decent, I should lock it up. That was my whole goal, to get a European Tour card. I have no goals here because I don't get in anything. Everyone turned me down on the West Coast."
Daly has not had a PGA Tour card since 2006, and has relied on sponsor exemptions, though that well is running dry. He has not been to Q-school since 1990, the year before he won the PGA Championship, the year after Rory McIlroy was born.
This is the last year of Q-school for a PGA Tour card. Starting next year, the 75 players who finish out of the top 125 will compete with the top 75 players from the Web.com Tour in a four-tournament series in which 25 cards will be available for the top players on that special money list (the top 25 from the Web.com Tour will be assured PGA Tour cards going into the series).
Asked if he would play in that series, Daly took a drag on a cigarette and said, "If I was exempt to play, hell, yeah."
"I don't want to say 'Yes' because it depends on if I'm real close in Europe to the Race to Dubai. That's big money, too," he said. "But if you play in this, four tournaments, and you miss three cuts and win the last one, you're in. So you get four chances to get a card. I think it's a great idea. And they're all $1 million purses, right? I'd have to give that a shot."