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New Qualification Changes Could be Detrimental

PGATour.com has reported that the Tour is considering a few rule changes that would impact the way that professional golfers can play their way onto Tour.  According to the news release, the annual qualifying tournament known to all golf fans as Q-School would no longer award Tour cards.  Taking its place would be a series of three tournaments after the regular season, with a to-be-determined number of top finishers receiving playing privileges for the next season.  Q-School would only award Nationwide cards.

It is important to point out that these new changes are still in the preliminary stages of development, and they are by no means set in stone.  However, the potential for Q-School to be eliminated as a possible path to the Tour is major cause for concern to all aspiring pro golfers.  True, a truly qualified golfer will be still be able to make it onto the Nationwide Tour and then onto the big Tour through consistent play.  But the great stories of underdogs and underachievers getting hot for a few weeks of Q-School and sneaking onto Tour would be no more.

That's cause for concern.  The new rules would likely deter some of these underdogs from giving pro golf a shot.  Many golfers don't have the monetary resources to finance a whole season on the Nationwide Tour, a tour that pays good but not great. 

Take Fred Funk, for example, a top-30 all time career money winner on Tour.  Funk worked as golf coach at Maryland in the 1980s, making ends meet while honing his game.  He got his shot at Q-School and made the most of it, qualifying for the Tour and never looking back.  I'm sure the golf coach at Maryland doesn't make a fortune, and it is not a given that Funk would have had the money to play a season in Triple-A just for the chance to make the big leagues.  Traveling across the country is not cheap.  Especially with gas prices these days.

The new rules could keep a significant chunk of the next generation of golfers from having the chance to take their games to the next level.  That's cause for concern.

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