Garcia is one of 13 players to have reached the play-offs every year since they began in 2007, but is currently ranked 131st in the standings after three missed cuts in his last four events. Only the top 125 on Sunday evening will make the post-season, with 375 points projected to be the total required for the opening play-off event, the Northern Trust in New Jersey. Garcia has 331 points and would receive 45 for finishing alone in 20th.
The last time the former Masters champion finished that high on the leaderboard in a strokeplay event on the PGA Tour was in the Valspar Championship in March, when he was fourth behind England’s Paul Casey. Garcia’s five-year exemption for his victory at Augusta National means he will at least not lose his full PGA Tour privileges if he does not reach the top 125, something which cannot be said of Shane Lowry (139th) and Graeme McDowell (143rd).
Lowry’s exemption for winning the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in 2015 runs out this week, as does McDowell’s for his victory in the OHL Classic in November 2015, an event which was part of the wraparound 2015-16 season.
Both men are likely to need a top-five finish to survive, although Lowry was seventh in the same event last year and has been a different player since splitting from his long-time caddie Dermot Byrne. Lowry’s brother Alan has taken over on the bag.
The Wyndham Championship begins today at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, North Carolina.