News & ToursDecember 12, 2011

GW Monday: Is Q School about to change?

From the Dec. 12 issue of Golf World Monday:

For all the angst it has caused since it began in 1965, PGA Tour Qualifying School has also been a gateway of dreams and an on-ramp to bigger things. Survive the stress, earn a card -- the rest was up to you. It's no surprise, then, that news of the potential demise of this enduring institution after 2012 has created a lot of chatter.


Brendon Todd was recently medalist at Q School.

The PGA Tour is considering changes that would stop Q school from being a direct path to the PGA Tour. Currently, cards go to the top 25 on the Nationwide Tour money list (the class of 2011 is shown) and 25 from Q school.

Instead, all 50 PGA Tour cards would be determined through a three-tournament series comprised of Nos. 1-75 on the Nationwide Tour money list and 75 players (Nos. 126-200) who didn't qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs. Q school would be only for earning status on the Nationwide Tour.

Several factors are behind the potential shake-up, including the PGA Tour's attempt to obtain a new sponsor for the developmental circuit after Nationwide departs next year and the fact that players with Nationwide Tour experience have retained their PGA Tour cards at a much higher percentage than those without it (87 percent vs. 13 percent in the last six years).

Related: Five historic Q School grads

Still, during that same period J.B. Holmes, Anthony Kim, Dustin Johnson, Webb Simpson and Rickie Fowler (among others) went from college to Q school to PGA Tour success. The success of those young stars, a couple of whom the tour utilizes in its marketing, will make it difficult to completely end Q school as we know it.

-- Bill Fields

(Photo: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

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