Saturday, February 04, 2012

Proposed Changes to Q-School

A couple of weeks ago, the PGA Tour announced some possible changes to Q-School, the PGA Tour season and the Nationwide Tour. From what I've read on the internet, these changes may include possibly starting the Tour season in the fall so some current Post FedEx Cup tournaments could have participation in the FedEx Cup series, Q-School graduates only having status on the Nationwide Tour, and the only way of earning status on the PGA Tour is through the Nationwide Tour and previous year participation on the PGA Tour.  I have a couple of opinions about these changes.  First, the European Tour had a non-traditional calendar for several years and figured out it wasn't working for them so they changed to a calendar-year based schedule. Why would the US PGA Tour make the move to something that's been proven to be a problem?  Second, Q-School, in my mind, is the toughest test a golfer can experience. Six rounds that will determine your entire year and possibly your whole career. I have so much more respect for any golfer who can survive Q-School and then follow it up with successful careers on the PGA Tour. Some notables who fit this mold are Dustin Johnson, JB Holmes and Rickie Fowler.  I think they are tougher, smarter, and stronger than the guys who have a whole year of chances to make it to the PGA Tour.

At play here, ultimately, is sponsorship and money. The PGA Tour believes that bigger purses equals success and these changes are meant to make sponsors happy (like Nationwide, chief sponsor of the Nationwide Tour). I have to think, however, that eventually, the PGA Tour will be unable to sustain the huge purses they've been offering in the last few years and that a collapse of the Tour is a real possibility. The European Tour doesn't have the money available that the US Tour does, but it has quality courses, diverse membership, and what looks like a more sound business model.  And of course, one of the contributing factors the US PGA Tour has to consider is its membership who has reportedly not responded favorably in the past to the suggestion of dialing back the size of purses in tough economic times. More, more, more isn't always the best idea. One day, the US PGA Tour may wake up to find that there is no more out there. When the well dries up, where will they be?

1 comment:

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