HARTFORD, Conn. – Fairfield native J.J. Henry can keep on playing for another year on the PGA Tour.
In 28 starts last season, Henry had only one top-10 finish, missed 15 cuts and finished 159th on the money list with $482,052. He failed to qualify for the playoffs and secure his membership for the 2018-19 season.
At 43 years old, the three-time PGA Tour winner, including the 2006 Buick Championship (now Travelers Championship), had limited options until the Tour approved a new one-time exemption for players such as J.J. In his PGA Tour career, which began in 2000, Henry has made 328 cuts that qualified him for the exemption.
“For a guy who arguably played 20 straight years out here and for whatever reason things change, whether personal, your body, your game just isn’t there and it’s like let’s take care of the guys who have supported the Tour,” Henry said at the RSM Classic in St. Simons Island, S.C. “You make 300 cuts, that’s saying something out here. I feel it’s earned.”
The exemption is similar to those granted to players who rank inside the top 25 or top 50 in career earnings – with a slight difference. Players using the exemption begin the season just behind those playing out of the Web.com Tour category, although they will be included with those players in that category’s reshuffle, and they will not be allowed to use a top-50 career earnings exemption in the future.
Henry said officials added the “cuts” category in response to dramatically increased purses in recent years that made the career earnings category out of reach. He has earned $16,662,827 in his PGA Tour career.
“The money has gotten to a good situation where when I first got out here we were playing for probably half of what we are now, maybe less,” Henry said. “The career money guys from my era have gotten passed by. In order to give guys like me a chance, they considered 500 starts is big thing, but if you’ve made 300 cuts you’ve actually kind of earned it.”
Players using the exemption had to have played at least 15 events in the previous season to qualify.
Profile: J.J. Henry
Birthplace: Fairfield, Conn.
Residence: Fairfield, Conn.
College: Texas Christian
Birthdate: April 2, 1975
Turned Professional: 1998