South Korean Si Woo Kim shot 18-under total over six rounds at PGA West–Nicklaus Tournament and TPC Stadium–to place T17th and became the youngest player at 17 years, 5 months and 6 days on Monday to graduate from PGA Tour Q-School. Previously, Ty Tryon held that record set in 2001, and unfortunately, as we know, he never lived up to the hype.
Because of the age requirement (18-years-old) to become a PGA Tour member and the condensed 2013 schedule, along with other provisions, Kim’s situation is somewhat complicated.
Let’s break it down.
Coming into the excruciating long week at PGA West for Q-school finals, Steven Bowditch felt like his form was taking a turn for the better. When you’re fighting to re-earn your job–the Australian had conditional status on the PGA Tour last year–the timing couldn’t have been more perfect.
The Australian shot an eight-under 64 on the Nicklaus Tournament course to take a one-shot lead through 90 holes heading into Monday’s sixth and final round.
The atmosphere at Q-school finals is indescribable. I mean, I can try my best to convey it, but it’s something you have to experience, especially because there’s nothing else like it. So it’s truly a shame this is the last year of the current system which started in 1965.
The vibe of the week is a mixture of nerves, excitement, uncertainty, agony, and camaraderie amongst the players and caddies. It’s also a bit frantic and overwhelming because there’s so much going on and most guys are on kind of on edge in a way (though they try not to show it). Still, it’s my favorite tournament. Before the six-day marathon starts, it’s somewhat chill, but obviously, with each day, it becomes more pressure-packed and you see less smiles and more grim faces.
I took videos of two players hitting balls on the range at PGA Tour Q-School (the last one ever!). Turns out they’re both young international rising stars that you should keep your eye on. 20-year-old South Korean Meen Whee Kim (who prefers to be called “Whee”) and 21-year-old Frenchman Romain Wattel are making their first start at Q-school finals.
In the spirit of the gossip magazine meme: Who Wore It Best? (Guys, despite your attempt to feign ignorance, I know a lot of you are familiar with it.) So, I ask, who swings it best? Or better? THIS IS LIKE GOLF PORN.
As longtime WUP readers know, Q-school is my favorite tournament to cover all season. (Heck, I even went to second stage this year!–talk about the nerve-wracking atmosphere I’ve ever experienced.) Rather than going to Tiger Woods’
member-guest 22-man invite-only World Challenge in the L.A. area, I drove about three hours east to the desert, more specifically PGA West in La Quinta, for what I consider the most intriguing event of the year. Especially since 2012 is the LAST Q-SCHOOL EVER (as we know it — there will no longer be a direct pathway to the PGA Tour).
Let’s take a moment of silence to celebrate and remember 45 years of the only professional sporting event where you can start at Q-school pre-qualifying with no status and then play up to four different stages (full tournaments with strong fields) in the grueling process, which ends with the six-round finals, to earn full status on the PGA Tour for the following season. Ain’t that great?
Everybody loves a “Rudy” and Cinderella story.
For nine-and-a-half holes, President Bill Clinton shook hands, posed for pictures, signed autographs, kissed babies, etc. He also played some golf with Greg Norman, Scott McCarron and Humana CEO Mike McCallister at PGA West’s Palmer Private course.
While walking from eight green to nine tee, Clinton stopped to oblige some fans who wanted autographs. He looked around and called to one of his secret service agents and said, “Help me…” Not that he didn’t want to sign (he did for a few minutes), but because he’d be there until the sunset if someone didn’t intervene at some point. The fans all thanked him for supporting and reviving the tournament — which he sure has achieved. (I was here last year and the energy and buzz are like 20 times greater this time around, which is awesome.)
Some notes and highlights from the first round of t
he Bob Hope Classic the Humana Challenge…
In the last few months of his rookie season, Bobby Gates caught a streak of bad luck and it seemed like everything that could go wrong, did. Fortunately, his luck changed just in time for PGA Tour Q-school finals, where he came back from a disappointing fifth round one-over 73 to shoot six-under 66 in the sixth to climb to a tie for third at PGA West on Monday and retained full status for the 2012 season.
Best of all, Gates doesn’t have to deal with being that guy — you know, the one who was $1,431 short of finishing in the top 125 on the money list to avoid the dreaded return to Q-school.
A year ago, 38-year-old Tommy Biershenk missed his PGA Tour card by a shot.
Since Biershenk turned pro in 1997, he’s gone to Q-school every fall, including five or six trips to finals. Each time he had to wait another year playing on the Nationwide and/or mini tours — except for 2005 when he was broke and went to work on a farm for about a year, while also starting a golf cart business that ended up losing money — to try again. Finally, in his fifteenth attempt he fulfilled his lifelong dream.