Former PGA Tour winner and broadcaster Phil Blackmar has been a strong, almost annoyingly big proponent of the change from Q-School to the Web.com Tour Finals as a stepping stone to the tour.
All through the playoffs he was largely a defender of the system, but having seen the fields for the first four PGA Tour events of the new season starting Thursday, not so much. He goes so far as to say the PGA Tour is more of a closed shop than ever and those "qualifiers" who demonstrated their skill in season-long success on the Web.com Tour are now finding themselves on the outside looking in as the season begins again Thursday:
However, as of Monday morning, October 7, 16 players from the qualifying category are not in the field in the Fry’s, the first fall event. The other three open events are as follows: Shriners-28 players not in, McGladrey-14 players not in, and Mayakoba has 11 players not in the field from the qualifying category. The numbers for the last three events are also likely to increase as the cut-off date to commit to a tournament is not until the Friday before the event. Not only is the qualifier’s category not in the first fall event, the entire category is not in a single one of the fall events. It’s amazing the tour could be so far off in their assessment. In fact, during third round of the Web.com Championship, just six days prior to the commitment deadline for the Frys, they still maintained their stance. Now, 11 days later they say that it’s a wonderful story; a truly unexpected turn of events that the fields are so strong for the fall tournaments.
Regarding those who had great seasons on the Web.com Tour, but didn't light it up in the "playoffs"...
It’s now too late to do the right thing for this group of qualifiers. Kevin Tway, Mark Anderson and Will Wilcox finished top 10 on the season long race and may not get into a single fall event unless they receive one of two sponsor’s exemptions given to the qualifying category at each event. Bronson La Cassie, Alex Aragon and Tim Wilkinson also finished top 10 but are on the bubble for each event where they might get to play and also might not have the chance. The new system is already more of a closed ship than the old q school system and can be seen as an example of the tour protecting its own.
So to recap, for more than a year we've heard the PGA Tour say that season long success was more important to breeding new PGA Tour players than the short-term success of lowly Q-School and it's Rickie Fowlers and John Huhs, yet the new system now has been proven to be discriminating against those who fail to perform in the four week playoff event.
Oh, and aren't you excited about opening day Thursday at the Frys.com?