Dec
7
2011
The Great Q-School Replacement: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
By Conor Nagle under PGA Tour

Brendon Todd won his card the old-fashioned way.

The powers that be are putting the finishing touches to the system they hope will make qualification for the PGA Tour that little bit fairer. Cynics– Lord knows there aren’t any in these parts– will probably brand it a needlessly convoluted attempt to win over late-season television audiences, but as a famous Irish saying proverb would have it, c’est la vie.

Doug Ferguson, of writing for the AP infamy, has the deets:

“The final pieces are starting to come together in a plan that would merge the top 75 players from the Nationwide Tour with the 75 players from the PGA Tour who failed to qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs. They would play a three-tournament series, and the top 50 would earn PGA Tour cards. The rest could go back to Q-school to try to earn status on the Nationwide Tour.”

Not only that, but the proposed format would also include a seeding system reminiscent of that employed in the current FedEx Cup/Fall Series (I say “current” in the hope that it will one day undergo a radical overhaul, not a tweaking around the edges). Oh, hurrah:

“The top 25 from the Nationwide Tour money list – players who previously would have automatically earned PGA Tour cards – would be seeded No. 1 through No. 25. The next seed would be shared by No. 26 on the Nationwide money list and No. 126 on the PGA Tour money list. The PGA Tour player would be assigned the same money as his counterpart from the Nationwide Tour.

“Some of the early calculations have shown that top 25 would be virtually assured [a naysaying Geoff Shackelford interjects: ‘It’s kind of like asking a student to gets straight A’s just to take the final, which they also have to earn an A on just to get a diploma.’] of finishing among the top 50 to earn their cards”

Caveat-laden though the current proposal appears, can Q-School Mk.II not claim to posit a humane alternative to the existing, three-stage, multi-round wringer?

Some of the Tour’s elder statesmen have been canvassed, and the answer appears to be a resounding “Maybe”.

Steve Stricker offers a broad endorsement of the change, but would like to see “a few more [Tour] spots” reserved for graduates of a traditional Q-School, while Jim Furk– who “is a details guy,” apparently– would like to see more, well, details before arriving at a conclusion.

Conor Nagle