As each year goes by I fear the true sporting spirit of match play is less and less in evidence. We find a growing disposition for play to concentrate on the figures that are registered at a hole rather than on the question of whether the hole is lost or won in a purely friendly match.
Just imagine if he'd played a year on the Nationwide Tour instead of graduating from tacky old Q-School. Sean Martin, filing notes on Sunday's wacky final round at Torrey, says this about the rookie-from-nowhere's amazing start:
Ryan Ballengee talks to Nationwide Tour president Bill Calfee, who says players showing up at a Torrey Pines player meeting will get to hear the latest concept for the PGA Tour/Nationwide Tour's three-event fall finish, which is designed to help lure a Nationwide title sponsor and replace PGA Tour Q-School as an annual avenue to the tour.
Check out this:
Beginning in 2013, a total of 50 PGA Tour cards will be awarded through a three-tournament series on the Nationwide Tour schedule. Q-School will only offer status on the Nationwide Tour.
The top 75 players from the Nationwide Tour money list and the first 75 players who fail to qualify for the PGA Tour playoffs will be a part of the series. In addition, Calfee said a number of top amateurs or collegiate players could be invited to take part in the series.
“It’s kind of like our form of the FedEx Cup, in some ways,” he said.
So now they are talking sponsor's invites for college players into the series?
What's next, spots for a few of the Commissioner's favorite players outside the top 125? Former Players Champions who no longer have status?
Doug Ferguson says the pieces "are starting to come together" for a plan to end PGA Tour cards from Q-School in the name of trying to legitimize (and fund) the Nationwide Tour.
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.
The current Q-School and Nationwide structures each requires one sentence.
Q-School: Write a check, survive three stages and you have a tour card.
Nationwide Tour: Finish in the top 25 and get your card.
Ferguson writes that policy board member Steve Stricker would like to see 10 spots at Q-School still saved for PGA Tour cards, but Stricker also partially endorses the tour's idea.
"I still think it would be nice if somebody had the opportunity to get a quick turn on tour. I believe, though, it's going to be better for a better player. It's going to bring out talent over a longer period of time. If I was a good player, I would love to have the whole year to prove myself for 50 spots."
Except that you work the whole year to prove yourself, yet your graduation status still comes down to a bizarre seeding and three-week window to ultimately prove yourself? 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.
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 of finishing among the top 50 to earn their cards; and that anyone winning one of those three tournaments also would be a lock to earn a card.
Have we already forgotten how the FedExCup models panned out and how many times the formula has been changed?
So I ask, if the season long play is considered better, then why would you open the door to a "virtually assured" situation?
Oh right, money.
The unbylined AP story on Q-School winner Brendon Todd, who closed with 68.
Rex Hoggard writes about the Georgia grad's success and the incredible number of top players the program has produced of late.
In order, former Georgia players Brendon Todd (pictured above), Brian Harman, Harris English and Kevin Kisner earned Tour cards, and even Hudson Swafford, the final member of the Bulldog five-some at Q-School who missed his card by two strokes, could appreciate the achievement.
“We had seven guys on that team that could play anywhere week to week,” Swafford said. “Our qualifiers my freshman, sophomore, junior years were as intense as any event.”
And that’s saying something considering this year’s Fall Classic was as intense as any on record.
John Strege looks at the Q-School graduating class of 2012 with ages, career highlights and other notes, including some of the notables who missed out on getting a chance to make three, or if they're really lucky, four West Coast starts before the reshuffle.
Strege also notes that David Duval did not make it, along with Lee Janzen and Shaun Micheel. Duval was low major winner for the week at T70.
The PGATour.com folks also list the group, with face shots, college and their total number of tour starts. Bob Estes' 589 do stand out!
Sean Martin leads with the story of Tommy Biershenk who "was working on a North Carolina farm two years ago, earning $500 a week as he tried to keep his golf dreams alive." But he also notes this year's crop of Korean hopefuls, who sound ready to make some noise.
This is the second consecutive year that two 20-somethings from Korea earned PGA Tour cards. Sang-Moon Bae, No. 30 in the Official World Golf Ranking, and Noh, who’s ranked 101st, were the two top-ranked players in the field. Bae has won three Japan Tour titles this year. Noh won on the European Tour at age 19 and finished 30th at this year’s U.S. Open and Open Championship.
Their graduation came at the same site, PGA West, where Y.E. Yang earned his PGA Tour card at the 2008 Q-School.
Brian Wacker talks to a fortunate few survivors, including Biershenk, along with others who know both heartbreak and jubilation at making it.
The Australian PGA covers the Aussies who made it, including the amazing Jarrod Lyle.
The PGA Tour's excellent notebook from round 6 features a mix of stats and notes.
The final scoreboard for what is likely to be the second to last Q-School anyone pays attention to before the intended change to a Nationwide-only qualifier in 2013.