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Li Haotong is making an unexpected trip to the US for the Tour Finals. Photo: Getty Images

Li Haotong aims to capitalise after LIV Golf split hands him Tour Finals spot

  • ‘This is a good opportunity for me,’ he says after adjustment to FedEx Cup rankings boosts his position
  • Li flies to US for three-tournament series that begins with Albertsons Boise Open
PGA Tour

Li Haotong did not expect to be battling to win a PGA Tour card this month, but the civil war that has broken out in golf changed all that.

With a number of players suspended because of their association with the LIV Golf Invitational events, the FedEx Cup rankings have been changed and Li now finds himself with a route to the main circuit through the Korn Ferry Tour Finals.

The three-tournament series begins on Thursday with the Albertsons Boise Open, and Li has made a last-minute journey to the United States to fight for one of the 25 spots up for grabs.

“My plan was to stay home for about a month, and I changed it right away when I heard that I had qualified,” said Li, who earned FedEx Cup points through a tied-12th finish at the Sony Open in Hawaii in January and equal 55th place at the Genesis Scottish Open last month.

Li Haotong had planned to go home to China for a month, before hearing of his tour reprieve. Photo: Getty Images

“This is a good opportunity for me,” he said. “I will try to focus on each and every tournament.”

In a June memo to PGA Tour members, commissioner Jay Monahan said players who were suspended for competing in unauthorised events would not negatively impact members’ eligibility for tournaments or their status on the tour.

Consistent with that statement, the policy board approved the creation of the FedEx Cup playoffs and eligibility points list, which does not include the suspended players. The top 125 players from the new list qualified for last week’s FedEx St Jude Championship, which was won by Will Zalatoris.


The top 70 eligible players will qualify for this week’s BMW Championship at Wilmington (Delaware) Country Club, with the top 30 after the BMW earning spots in the field for the season-ending Tour Championship at Atlanta’s East Lake Golf Club.

Li has extra motivation to replicate the kind of form that saw him snap a mini-slump in June when he won the BMW International Open in Germany on the DP World Tour.

Countrymen Carl Yuan and Marty Dou officially secured their tour cards by finishing first and fourth on the points list at the conclusion of the Korn Ferry season on Sunday.

The pair will compete over the next three weeks to fight for the overall No 1 ranking, which guarantees exemptions to The Players Championship and US Open next year.


A fourth mainland Chinese golfer, Zhang Xinjun, will also be fighting for his tour card over the next few weeks.

As it was for many, the past two years saw Li’s game suffer, and he revealed he nearly quit the sport before bouncing back with the win in Germany.


“The ultimate goal was always to play on the PGA Tour,” said Li, who was ranked as high as No 32 in the world previously. “You are competing with the best players in the world week in, week out.

“The last few years have been rough but I found a lot of confidence from the win in Germany. I’m ready for whatever challenges that lie ahead.”

After missing the cut at The Open Championship, Li headed back to China as part of his “recharge process”.


“I still feel quite confident about my game but I know it won’t be easy as everyone will be hungry for this opportunity and so am I,” he said. “I’ll focus on my technique, but most importantly, I want to stay confident and positive.”

Following this week’s tournament, the Korn Ferry Tour Finals will feature the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship in Ohio next week and conclude with the Korn Ferry Tour Championship.