Considering he's such a passionate on-air presence who nearly always convinces me of his point, I expected a much more impassioned case for killing Q-School as an avenue to the PGA Tour from Frank Nobilo. But his Golf World column this week only raises more questions about the key arguments from its supporters as the Policy Board considers whether to approve the plan (the suspense is killing us all knowing what independent thinkers they are!).
Anyway, Nobilo's first point I can't agree with:
What about college players who want to turn pro and earn PGA Tour cards immediately? Well, there's still a chance to jump to the front of line, the same way Bud Cauley did last year. They're entitled to 12 starts, seven on sponsor's exemptions as nonmembers. If that doesn't work, the Nationwide Tour also has sponsor's exemptions. Just ask Harris English, who won there last year as an amateur.
If the PGA Tour wants elite college players to stay in school, these top tier student-athletes are almost assured of making it to the NCAA Championship, which traditionally spills over into the first week of June. Therefore those Nationwide starts they might get must come between the second week of June and sometime in late August. That's a lot of exemptions to hope for and even if you are lucky enough to get them, it's a lot of golf to try to make it into the new Nationwide/PGA Tour bottom-feeder playoffs and almost ensures the Rickies and Dustins will leave college early.
Another point I hear is the changes will keep international golfers from coming to the U.S. As I see it, that couldn't be further from the truth. The access the PGA Tour and the majors give to the top 50 on the World Ranking protects against that, allowing those who succeed in Europe and Asia to earn status in the U.S. rather easily. When Sang-moon Bae played in Q school last year, he was just hedging his bets. He was already in the 2012 WGC events, effectively in the majors and could play up to 12 other tour stops to earn enough to claim a full tour card, the way I and many others previously gained their access to the tour.
I'm sorry, but there's a huge difference between getting in WGC's and getting your PGA Tour card. At least there used to be.
Isn't a tour card ultimately the prize the PGA Tour wants players to aspire to instead of partial membership as a partial member?