In looking at the new qualifying rules for the PGA Tour, I know that many say change is inevitable, but I really hate this change. If you haven’t heard or read it yet, how you qualify for your PGA card is changing pretty significantly. No more Q School to the big tour. Which, by the way, was how Rickie Fowler got his playing card for 2012. Just like the NCAA in football about a playoff, the leadership of the PGA has all of these “reasons” for the change, but I believe that it’s once again about money.
To understand my argument about money driving this change in golf, you first have to understand how the change will actually work. So here it is in a nutshell. The survivors of Q school will earn a spot on the Nationwide Tour (here is the money issue-more in a moment), the PGA’s development tour. The top 75 finishers on the Nationwide Tour will join the 126th-200 finishers on the big golf tour in a three tournament series (money again). The top fifty out of this process get a playing card for the next season.
So let’s explore the money angle. This is the last year of the current sponsorship deal for Nationwide. So how do the golfing powers that be make the Nationwide tour attractive to potential new sponsors (and get bigger dollars, now and down the road)? Put the up and coming young gun golfers (like a Rickie Fowler last year) on the developmental tour. Then you add 3 more tournaments to the process. More opportunity to pull in money. As well as the fact that this overall process gives the PGA more time to market the young golfers or success stories that they think will play well with the public. Again money.
Now they give what appear to be good and valid reasons for the change. Like ” the tour wants to make sure players are better equipped when they reach the PGA Tour” blah, blah blah.
The bottom line is I don’t like it. Why? Two reasons. And I won’t argue when you tell me that they are emotional, not logical reasons. So what? I feel the way I feel.
The first reason is that it will all but eliminate those “magical” times when a player just makes it to get his card. Maybe it was his last run after years of struggling. Or maybe it was a young golfer who says “Ok, I’ll give it one shot and if it doesn’t work, I’ll go get a real job”. These are fun stories that give us all a little feeling of that dream, Maybe I could….
The second reason is that it makes getting to the big tour restrictive. Just like the NFL’s rule about going from high school to pro football, it basically says that no one should do this. But what if a kid could? We won’t know now.
Ok, now I’ve vented and we’ll get back to other things. But I feel the way I feel on this…..