Tow seasons ago the PBA tried a different format. Instead of letting everyone bowl all week, come down to the top 4 or 5 (no wild card player this year either), they decided to make a tour exempt field. This means that those that are exempt, do not have to go through the first day or so of qualifing. First they took the top 56 (?) people and made them exempt. Then they had what they called Tour Trials. This was a grueling week long bowling torture in which the top 8(?) were made exempt as well. Those exempt then joined the first 56(?). They do not have to bowl each week the first day or so. Then you have the "rabbit squad". That is everyone PBA and Amature that wish to try filling in the last 5 places, joining the exempt guys for the rest of the week. Many long time PBA people did not make it out of the tour trials. Del Ballard and Wayne Webb to name a couple. These PBA guys have to go through the rabbit squad each week if they want a chance to win.
One way to get made exempt for this year was to win a tournament last year. A few tournaments had 2 -3 years exempt as the prize. The other way was to be consistently good throughout the year and be picked by sheer rank. Then there's the few that made it out of the tour trials. They are exempt too. Each week, a few more come out of the rabbit squad. One person, each week, is given exemption from the rabbit squad, kind of as a "gift". That's the Commissioner's Exemption.
When this was first proposed, there was a lot of discussion throughout the US bowling world on this format.