Basically I think that their elite play at the college level being completely ignored does not make any sense to me-- especially now that the tour has to directly compete with LIV for young guys.
I will have to look at the numbers, but Gotterup made 6 of 8 cuts on the PGA tour, and was in the mix to win one week. Coody has a win on the KFT. So the fact that they even have a chance to get their cards despite only participating in 25 percent of the season tells me they are clearly playing at a high enough level.
More broadly, what I am trying to get at is that on the margin, the PGA tour should move towards lubricating the rise of top players. Scheffler had to spend a full year on the KFT-- why? Zalatoris was playing at the level of a top 25 player in the world for a full year on the KFT-- what the hell were they doing keeping him down there?
Players with conditional PGA tour status for next year include: Paul Barjon, Chase Seiffert, Roger Sloan, Ben Kohles, Aaron Baddeley, Jonas Blixt, Bo Van Pelt (!).
They have this status not due to good play, but because they had conditional status last year and were able to get into events over more deserving KFT players. You bring up what is my single biggest problem with the KFT, which is that players are penalized from a points perspective for playing in more competitive events!! Making the cut at the US Open not only doesn’t help you get your card through the KFT, but can actually hurt you because you are not playing the opposite field KFT event!
In my ideal scenario you would not have yearly status, but a running points system that is coherent and considers PGA tour, Euro Tour, and KFT events. I personally would like to see the tour go in a direction where if you make the cut one week, you are in the event the next week. If not, the field is filled out based on whoever has the most points (determined by their most recent play). If you are not in, you can play the KFT event, and try to rack up points to get into the next PGA tour event you can.
EDIT: I had been loose with words in using “status” and “having a card” interchangeably— I don’t think Gotterup and Coody are better than the majority of guys with cards, just the majority of guys with some kind of status.