Nobody designed this course. Nobody with a pencil and $2 million and five bulldozers. This was made by nature. It comes out of the ground. It was done with wind and rain and sun and the help of a few sheep. And so, while, for most Americans and other people, it’s not love at first sight at St. Andrews. St. Andrews’ Old Course is like a dry martini, an acquired taste, and, as such, it remains with you forever. JACK WHITAKER
Both PGA Tour and LPGA Tour Q-School's are this week, the final time for the PGA Tour in which top qualifiers earn the right to play a few west coast events before the re-shuffle. Now they'll get in through the Web.com playoffs, before they face a reshuffle in the fall!
Golfweek.com figures to have it covered well too. Here are the opening round groupings.
Fan favorite Christina Kim is also back at Q-school but most peculiar of all is the appearance of Japan's Chie Arimura, ranked 19th in the world. In case you're wondering, Dustin Johnson is ranked 19th on the men's side. I'm guessing he won't be at a qualifying school anytime soon!
Golf Channel will not be covering the golf live, instead doing this:
GOLF CENTRAL Q-SCHOOL SPECIALS WEDNESDAY-MONDAY – All of the action at the PGA TOUR Q-School Finals will be covered in nightly Golf Central Specials Wednesday-Monday (Nov. 28-Dec. 2) at 8 p.m. ET, with extended highlights, live interviews from PGA West and special features. Wednesday’s two-hour Golf Central (8-10 p.m. ET) – hosted by Whit Watson and Jimmy Roberts – will feature a roundtable panel discussion with several Q-School alums, including Jerry Foltz, Dicky Pride and Tripp Isenhour. Monday’s live show will be a two-hour recap capturing all of the action from the final day of Q-School and featuring live interviews with players who secured their PGA TOUR cards for 2013. The network’s team of correspondents will report live and on-site from PGA West, including Curt Byrum, Matt Gogel, Billy Ray Brown and Phil Blackmar. The special also will incorporate the PGA TOUR card ceremony, when the PGA TOUR’s newest members will receive their PGA TOUR cards.
GOLF CENTRAL SCHEDULED FEATURES
· The future of Q-School – Golf Channel will examine the new process of earning a PGA TOUR Card during Golf Central’s Q-School coverage.
Good luck with that!
At least the Commish was honest about the reason for the convoluted, as-yet-determined PGA Tour playoff system that will replace Q-School in 2013. It was a business decision. I would have been worried if he thought this was a better way to graduate players or to sift through the 126-and-beyond players to form the strongest possible tour each year.
The transcript of Wednesday's Web.com announcement is here, if you have a few hours to read through the introductory remarks of Brown and Finchem.
The central question was asked about the new PGA Tour qualifying process, and out of it we learn that it sounds like Web.com came along only recently. And more impressively, the honest answer that this new fall finish/playoff for livelihoods was driven by the sponsors and is not necessarily what is best for feeding players to the PGA Tour. At least the Commish admitted the sponsors drove him to this.
TIM FINCHEM: I agree. I don't have much to add to that. We were way down the road before these discussions began. I think because of the things that David said, though, that going forward the way the structure will be starting next year is more of an integration with the PGA TOUR, which is kind of what prior sponsors of this TOUR have always talked about. They'd like to see a closer relationship. David saw that given the restructure, and it's something that'll be part of where this TOUR is now.
But these negotiations had little to do with the direction of the restructure. This has been going on for 16 months.
Worse, check out the options for the new PGA Tour-Web.com season ending playoff at this point, as outlined by Doug Ferguson in his story today.
In one model, the top 15 players from the Web.com Tour would start the three-tournament series with whatever money they earned that year. It would be enough money to guarantee their cards. Everyone else would start from scratch, meaning 35 cards would be up for grabs.
Make $800k on the PGA Tour playing against Tiger and Rory, and start from scratch against guys who were playing against weaker fields. Yes, that makes sense.
In the second model, the top 25 players from the Web.com Tour would be guaranteed their cards. They would join the others in the three-tournament series, with everyone starting from scratch, so only 25 cards would be at stake. The only thing the top 25 players from the Web.com Tour could lose, even if they missed every cut, would be their priority ranking for getting into tournaments.
Oh fans can really wrap their arms around that one!
Let's face it, we'll never figure this one out. And that's just the way the algorithm writers like it. Unfortunately, sports fans don't like their competitions decided by beancounters.
Steve DiMeglio includes some eye-opening comments from Web.com CEO David Brown about his business.
"But we believe that mass adoption of the internet by small businesses is happening now, so now we think it's time to strike. We looked through all the different opportunities, and we felt that the PGA Tour was the best opportunity not only to create a voice in the marketplace but to create a positive voice. That professionalism, that integrity, that dedication that is associated with PGA Tour, that's what we are, as well. And we want that to rub off on us as we build our brand in the marketplace."
I'm sorry, is it 2005 again?
And the video:
I think Scott Michaux was a bit stunned to find 2013 Walker Cup Captain Jim Holtgrieve scouting players at the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley, now in its second year of glorious excess. Holtgrieve confirms he is hitting the junior golf trail in anticipation of Q-School's demise causing top players to turn pro long before the Walker Cup at The National Golf Links.
“I’m going to be a little more cognizant about junior play because I think that’s probably where it’s going to go,” Holtgrieve said of the Walker Cup selection process. That’s a safe bet considering 2011 Sage Valley runner-up Patrick Rodgers made Holtgrieve’s 10-man roster last fall.
“Last year having Patrick Rodgers on the team was eye-opening,” said George Cunningham, 15, of Tucson, Ariz., who played in his second Junior Invitational.
Because of the pending changes to Q-School, Holtgrieve has received every indication that top American collegians Patrick Cantlay and Jordan Spieth will pass up hanging around as amateurs another year in order to participate in the final Q-School that hands out PGA Tour cards. Cantlay and Spieth were Holtgrieve’s top point-getters with 2.5 each in last year’s Walker Cup at Royal Aberdeen, and they would have been the expected leaders for next year’s campaign to win back the cup.
“Nobody is a lock, but there’s no doubt about it that both of them are great players and great ambassadors for the United States,” Holtgrieve said. “So selfishly I’m hoping they stay amateur and try to make the team again.”
Realistically, he knows that won’t happen. Because Holtgrieve understands that amateur and collegiate golf are all the unintended victims of the death of Q-School.
“Absolutely,” he said when the trickle-down consequence of Q-School’s demise was broached.
By the way, if you get weepy seeing the yellow jacket ceremony at the Junior Invitational presented by Electrolux, or nauseous at the sight of 16 year olds with caddies in white overalls, don't watch the final round highlights produced by PGA Tour Productions. They also had W on hand for the banquet.