Finally, the PGA Tour has announced details of how it will blend players from the Web.com Tour and the PGA Tour into a three-tournament series that will award exemptions to the PGA Tour. And what will be the replacement for the PGA Tour’s current qualifying process is still going to award the top players from the Web.com Tour.
Starting in the fall of 2013, the top 75 players from the Web.com money list and players from 126th to 200th on the PGA Tour money list will play a series of three tournaments,with all 150 players (plus a handful of more players through other qualifying criteria) starting from scratch for the series. A total of 50 PGA Tour exemptions will be on the line.
But, and this is important, the top 25 players from the Web.com Tour will earn a PGA Tour exemption no matter where they finish in the series. Currently, the top 25 players from the old Nationwide Tour earn PGA Tour cards, and the PGA TOur officials decided (with plenty of input from the players) that those 25 players needed to continue to earn exemptions.
What is important is that where those players’ finish in the series will still determine their so-called “number” for the next year. The better they play, the better their exempt number. Finishing dead last in the series will give a Web.com top-25er the worst possible status for the 2014 PGA Tour.
While this is all fine and good, there are still lots of folks, and I would be one of them, that aren’t crazy about the changes. The PGA Tour is still kind of taking away the Cinderella story possibility for the out-of-nowhere player to earn a Tour card as a raw rookie. By utilizing the Web.com Tour as the only real method to get to the PGA Tour, the PGA Tour has certainly done good work in positioning the Web.com Tour to get new business opportunities, including the new Web.com sponsorship. And the Web.com Tour does have a better record of having players stick on the PGA Tour than the Q-school does. But there is a lack of spontaneity to the process. It all feels a little too business-like.
But it’s done and the PGA Tour isn’t likely to change its mind now.
By the way, still no word on where the three tournaments in the qualifying series will be played. It might be nice to have one at PGA West, where the Q-school had been played so often and will be played again this December.