To no one’s surprise, the PGA Tour will end a 50-year tradition when it makes changes into how young college players and professionals who have struggled on the mini-tours or lost their Tour status earn their playing privileges in the big league.
Starting in 2013, the Tour Qualifying School, one of the most dramatic, emotional and roller coaster event, will only determine who gets to join the Nationwide Tour, due for a name change since Nationwide has opted to sponsor Jack Nicklaus’ Memorial tournament in the future.
“Any time you make a change,” said commissioner Tim Finchem, “human nature asks ‘why are we changing? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ There’s another way to look at things.When things are going pretty well, that’s time to get better.”
While others in the media may not like this move, I don’t have a problem at all with players having to prove themselves in the minor league first before getting chances at the big bucks on the PGA Tour.
The number of players who kept their playing privileges each year after surviving the fall qualifying could be counted on one hand.
While the odds might be against it, a great young player can always get sponsor exemptions or try Monday qualifying to get into events. If he makes enough money to equal No. 200, he can earn a card.
I do think the current plan floated on how the 50 cards will be handed out–the top 75 on the second tour and players who finish between 125 and 200 on the Tour will play a series of three events—might need a little tweaking. Currently, the top 25 on the second tour earn their cards. While this number could be reduced, I still think that a season-long performance should outweigh how they fare in just three events. Maybe, the top 10 automatically advance, leaving 40 for the others in the two categories.
The other change announced was that the 2014 season would start a few weeks after the season-ending Tour Championship in 2013. This will make some of those fall events happy unless the Tour does not give them the same status on points as the rest of the events.