PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem announced changes Tuesday that will end almost 50 years of Q-school as a way to get to the PGA Tour.
To me this seems like a horrible decision (or maybe not – read on). I have many friends that try the Q-school route as a way to make it with the big boys, but now all they will be playing for is a card for the Nationwide Tour. So now, the Tour will take the top 75 players from the Nationwide Tour money list, along with the players who finished 126 through 200 on the PGA Tour money list, and have them play three tournaments. The top 50 will receive PGA Tour cards for the following season.
So, no longer do we get the cool stories from local driving range guys coming up with enough cash to pursue their dream. No longer do we have the club pros gathering up money from members to get into Q-school. Sure, they can get on the Nationwide Tour but it just doesn’t have the same feeling to it. I know the Nationwide Tour is a great starting ground for the PGA Tour, but Q-School was cool and unique. We are basically the only sport that would give the average Joe a chance to make it.
Some of you might say “Earn your card through the Nationwide” and that’s fine, but do you know how hard it is out there. I have buddies out there that are awesome players, but sometimes money is tough to come by. Then you play a tournament with that on your mind, and you are basically done from there with no chance. Yes, there are the success stories you guys hear about, but those are few and far between.
Then I have some friends on the PGA Tour, who again are awesome players. By being on the tour they got a bunch of perks, some good sponsors, and now they are free to let their game speak for themselves. There’s a little less pressure in my opinion, that is, until you have 3 tournaments left to get inside the top 125.
When I really think about it though, I don’t think it’s so bad. So as you can see, I’m 50/50. At the beginning I’m thinking it’s “horrible” and now that I’m writing this, I can see it being alright. After all, if you earn your card through the Nationwide Tour, you will know what it’s like to be there on Sunday’s. You will know what it’s like to maybe win in front of a crowd. You will know what it’s like to hit that pressure shot, which in Q-school, you might have had to do that for 6 days total.
I will say if they still have Q-school, it should not be at the price now since it’s only for Nationwide. I’m thinking they should cut the price in half.
To read more about this and see Finchem’s interview, head over to the PGA tours website.