Champions Tour Q-School: I Told You It Was Hard

The 2013 Champions Tour Q-School was supposed to have ended on Friday, but there was this little matter of soaking rains that began Thursday night and continue as I write this late Friday night.

The implications of these welcome desert rains that are not so good for golf? There was a three-hour delay in the morning, the entire field managed to finish before it was too dark, but only four of those still with a chance know their fates for sure.

Wes Short, Jr. was the medalist by five shots over Mike Reid and Jim Rutledge who finished T2 and together they won three of the five fully exempt Tour cards. The fourth guy who knows his fate for sure is Jim Gallagher, Jr. who finished 13th and won the 8th and final conditional card. 

The rest of the winners won’t know their fate until 8:30 Saturday morning if the continuing rains don’t saturate the course. That’s when the playoffs begin. Five players, Jeff Hart, Willie Wood, Greg Bruckner, Doug Garwood and Scott Dunlap will playoff for the 4th and 5th fully exempt cards and the 1st, 2nd and 3rd conditional cards (the rankings are important because they determine the order that they get into tournaments).

Anders Forsbrand, Mark Mouland, Jeff Coston and Ben Bates will playoff for the pecking order of the 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th conditional cards for a grand total of 5 fully exempt cards and 8 conditional cards.

The rest of the field that finished in the top 30 are now eligible to play in the Monday qualifiers without having to go through Thursday qualifying. They are almost all former Tour players whose names you will have heard.

Those who succeeded in securing cards will have fought against the long odds and the high-wire emotions of knowing that you couldn’t make a mistake. They will have endured the interminable and unpredictable rain delay while formulaically assuring themselves that it was “the same for everybody.”

They will have remained calm when they had the good runs that took their scores lower and not panicked when small mistakes might have suggested that it was the beginning of the end.

Those that got into the playoffs will be wondering how they’ll play Saturday morning, especially if they were playing well on Friday. Can they keep it going or will it just be yet another morning of finding out what a new day brings?

Those who merely qualified to Monday qualify will be wondering what they could have done to clean up just a couple of the bogeys they made during the week. They will take some solace that they at least have that right, but immediately start grappling with which tournaments have qualifiers, where they are and how they’re going to pay for it without sponsorship their lowly status is unlikely to secure.

The guys who won nothing will be looking at the additional expense of showing up eight days before the tournament starts for a chance to Thursday qualify to Monday qualify. For some it will be a “whatever it takes” motivating moment and for others it will be a “why am I doing this to myself” moment.

But there is one salvation as they turn the lights out Friday night; tomorrow is another day and things have a way of looking better in the morning. The morning brings a fresh calculus to whatever yesterday’s worries might have been. There is the future devoid of the drag of the past. There is hope. There is possibility.

And there is always the innate, indomitable spirit of human beings.

It kept me trying for nine years.

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