SBD/July 12, 2012/Leagues and Governing Bodies

PGA Tour Establishes New Qualifying Conditions Beginning in '13

Q-School will now only be able to award Tour cards, not PGA Tour status
The PGA Tour has decided "not to seed" players as part of its new qualifying system, which goes into effect next year, according to Matin & Miceli of GOLFWEEK. The top 25 money winners on the Tour entering the finals will “receive PGA Tour cards for the next season but compete in the finals to determine their standing among the 50 card earners.” The 25 players with the “highest cumulative finals earnings also will receive PGA Tour cards.” Players will have to earn FedExCup points or money on the Tour to make the finals. The finals will “stretch over several weeks,” although the “number of finals events, and their sites, is yet to be determined.” Seedings would have “emphasized seasonlong performance, a criterion that was said to be a vital reason for the change.” Q-School’s main weakness "is that it rewards players who have a hot week, not a great year.” The finals field will be “comprised of the top 75 on the Tour money list and Nos. 126-200 on the FedExCup points list” (GOLFWEEK, 7/13 issue). AP’s Doug Ferguson wrote, “More than six months of discussions ended with what the tour felt was the most simple plan for awarding PGA Tour cards.” Q-School will “continue to be held in late fall, but only to award Tour cards.” PGA Tour Exec VP & COO Andy Pazder said that keeping the model "simple was a factor, 'but not a motivating factor'” (AP, 7/11).

DIFFERENT STROKES: The Washington Post’s John Feinstein, who wrote the '07 best-seller "Tales From Q-School," said of the new format, “It's the field of dreams aspect that many players talk about and the notion you can play your way from nowhere in the golf pantheon, to being on to the tour and then perhaps winning on the Tour and having big success on the Tour. That goes away because you can’t play your way from nowhere onto the Tour. You have to go through these several stages now, from to the PGA Tour” (“Morning Drive,” Golf Channel, 7/11). Golf Channel’s Tripp Isenhour said of the new road to the PGA Tour, “One con would be you’d eliminate the possibility for a young superstar to play six rounds of golf at finals of Q-School and go straight to the PGA Tour. But I think that argument is somewhat dulled because there are so many opportunities now for them to get on the PGA Tour through this new system and sometimes you can fake it for 108 holes. It’s very tough to fake it over three 72-hole events and they’re all million-dollar purses" (“Golf Central,” Golf Channel, 7/10).
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