One last time, it’s that time of the year. One last time for the “Fall Classic.” One last time for the “Direct to the Tour” Q-School.
After this year, the Q-School goes the way of the buggy whip to be replaced by a three-tournament qualifying process consisting of the Top-75 players on the Web.com Tour Money List and players who finish 126 through 200 on the PGA Tour Money List.
Those 150 players will be playing for 50 PGA Tour cards, with 25 of them automatically going to the Top-25 on the Web.com Tour (they will have played an entire year to get there and that’s their reward).
But this last year, Q-School begins Wednesday and runs for six rounds through Monday. And it will be at a familiar haunt, PGA West in LaQuinta (Palm Springs), California. Once again they’ll be playing the Nicklaus Tournament Course and Pete Dye’s TPC Stadium Course. It’ll be 174 guys playing for 25 Tour cards (and ties).
Everyone else gains status on the Web.com Tour — either fully exempt or conditionally exempt depending on how far down the leaderboard they finish. So this is the tournament that will seed the Web.com Tour for next year’s three-tournament fandango.
Most of this was necessitated by two things, (1) a need to find a new sponsor for the Nationwide Tour that would receive bang for the buck from its sponsorship, and, (2) the Tour’s need to have a more definitive off-season that begins after the Tour Championship and FedExCup and ends with what has previously been the old Fall Series. Those tournaments, or their successors, in that block will be beefed up with comparable FedExCup points to the old line tournaments and have the patina of starting each new season.
In the meantime, to get yourself into this last year’s Q-School instead of just being a casual observer of the Tour’s passing history, Brian Wacker, writing at pgatour.com, does a good job of providing a glimpse at some of the better stories: “From Atwal to Yip: Stories behind the q-school hopefuls.” It makes for interesting reading.
To all of you going down to the river one last time, good luck, play well. It will definitely be one for the history books.
I, for one, will miss the old girl.