Rickie Fowler, who has been privately making the case for keeping the PGA Tour's doomed Q-School in its current form, went public today with his feelings, offering this tweet after earlier re-Tweeting Sean Martin's commentary sticking up for the PGA Tour's traditional entry path.
Though there have been other defenders like Lanny Wadkins, and I've pointed out to anyone who will listen that it's only broken because the PGA Tour is looking to enhance the umbrella sponsorship available for the Nationwide Tour, it looks like we're going to see the debate move to a bigger stage as the tour moves in for the kill.
Here was Martin's commentary, rebutting some of the points made in Doug Ferguson's story from yesterday including the idea that Q-School is only for Cinderella stories and therefore not producing strong performers at the PGA Tour level. Martin notes that 23 of the "29 graduates from this year’s Q-School started 2011 as members of the PGA Tour or Nationwide Tour."
Among the six graduates who weren't members of either tour: Sang-moon Bae, No. 30 in the Official World Golf Ranking; Seung-yul Noh, No. 101 in the world and a winner on the European Tour; Brian Harman, a two-time Walker Cup participant who’s been a successful mini-tour player in two pro seasons; and Harris English, who won on the Nationwide Tour as an amateur earlier this year. That’s a pretty qualified bunch.
Q-School has its share of benefits – namely simplicity and openness – over the PGA Tour’s proposed changes to its qualifying process. Q-School is golf in its finest form: shoot the scores and earn your Tour card. It’s also open to anyone who pays the four-figure entry fee.
The proposed qualifying system takes several sentences to explain, and depending on how the PGA Tour Policy Board decides, could severely limit the ability of players such as Bae and English to earn their way directly to the PGA Tour.
Q-School has its flaws, certainly. Anyone who has passed Statistics 101 knows that a larger sample yields a more-accurate result. Therefore, a season’s worth of competition is a better judge of talent than one tournament.
That also is a reason why Q-School graduates keep their PGA Tour cards at a lower rate than the Nationwide Tour graduates. Q-School is the last resort. It’s mostly for the golfers who played a full season on the PGA or Nationwide tours but failed to earn a PGA Tour card for the next season.