Thursday, 15 August 2013

Q- School End of an Era & Finding Glory in Playoff Golf...

While watching the PGA Championship this week, the year's fourth and final major, I started to realize the golf season and summer is almost over. Then I saw the PGA of America and the PGA Tour have decided to drop the slogan “Glory's last shot” because there’s still much more excitement on the horizon and it doesn't stop with the FedEx Cup. We’re entering into a new era in golf where playoffs have become a very serious business, we know about the 10 million dollar prize that awaits the FedEx Cup champ. Starting this year we also have the finals, a four event playoff to decide who receives 25 tour cards for the next season. Followed by The Presidents Cup and the beginning of the 2014 PGA Tour season in October, “Glory's last shot” seems like “Last Call” at midnight in a bar that closes at 2 am.

In the past there was Q School, considered golf’s hell week, which was a gruelling 108 hole, six round tournaments where the top 25 and ties would earn PGA status for the following year. Q school was one of my favorite events of the year. We saw past tour winners, standouts from the NCAA’s and Tin- Cup-esque stories fighting for 25 tour cards.  Also you could earn a card through golf’s minor leagues called the Tour, previously called the Nationwide Tour & Nike Tour. The top 25 leading money earners received tour status, after the finals normally held in October prior to Q school beginning. Graduates of the tour, include major winners and household names in golf. Names like Tom Lehman, Jim Furyk, Zach Johnson, Brandt Snedeker, Bill Haas, and Keegan Bradley.

The new qualifying system called the Tour Finals will be contested over four events, in which the top 75 money winners on the Tour and PGA Tour members placing between 126 and 200 on the FedEx Cup points list will be eligible. The top 25 on the Tour money list heading into the Finals will receive PGA Tour cards, with the remaining 25 cards to be awarded based on money earned in the Finals. It needs to be noted these players are playing for priority placing as their status is below the Top 125 which are eligible for the FedEx Cup playoffs. That means a player who finishes 3rd through the finals money list will get into most events they would like, but the 45th finisher is effectually 170th in tour priority and will miss many of the larger events..

Important Dates:

Aug.22nd- FedEx Cup starts at The Barclays for the top 125 in FedEx Cup standings
Aug.29nd- Finals start at Hotel Fitness Championship
Sept.19th- PGA Tour Championship where a FedEx Cup winner is decided
Sept.26th- Tour Championship where 50 tour cards are awarded
Oct.3rd- The President’s Cup at Muirfield Village between USA v. Internationals teams
Oct.10th- 2014 PGA season beginning at the Open

Although I was a fan of Q School and the stories of players struggling through six pressured packed days, playing for their dreams only to be crushed or elevated. The Finals will cause the cream to rise to the top, and for the fans we have more events to see players’ competing for Glory. 


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