According to a press release from the PGA Tour:
PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem announced that the Policy Board has approved significant changes to the structure of the qualifying system for the PGA TOUR, dramatically elevating the importance of the Nationwide Tour by establishing it as the primary pathway to the PGA TOUR. Additionally, the Policy Board approved changing the start of the PGA TOUR season, beginning in October 2013.
With these changes, all 50 PGA TOUR membership cards will now be awarded through the Nationwide Tour; the three final tournaments on the Nationwide Tour will combine PGA TOUR and Nationwide Tour players to determine who earns those 50 cards; and the annual Qualifying Tournament will become a pathway exclusively to the Nationwide Tour.
The start of the PGA TOUR 2013-14 season will begin in October, 2013 and conclude in late September, 2014 with the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola, the fourth and final FedExCup Playoff event. In making this change, the fall tournaments will begin awarding FedExCup points in 2013.
Details must still be finalized, such as the competition system which will determine the 50 PGA TOUR cards, the level of FedExCup points to the PGA TOUR’s fall tournaments and other details. The fields for the three final Nationwide Tour events, which will be held during the FedExCup Playoffs, will include the top 75 players on the Nationwide Tour’s money list, the players ranked 126-200 on the PGA TOUR’s FedExCup points list and non-members who meet certain eligibility standards.
The new system appears to eliminate the possibility of rags-to-riches stories of journeymen pros from around the world making the PGA Tour through the grueling qualifying school process.