Altvater: Wrap-around schedule and no Q-School are bad ideasWritten by Fred Altvater | | BackNine@toledofreepress.com
The PGA Tour has announced changes to its tournament scheduling and qualification for PGA Tour membership over the past few weeks.
Although the exact details are still somewhat sketchy, we do know a few things.
FedEx Cup points and PGA Tour money list earnings will begin to accumulate for the next year beginning with the Fall Series events that will be played in October and November after the FedEx Cup Playoffs and the Tour Championship.
The argument for this is two-fold. The Fall Series events will give younger or lower-ranked players a chance to get a leg up on the higher ranked players by starting their season in the lower quality fields of these fall events. It also will provide golf tournaments on television that will be in the heart of football season for the hard-core golf fan.
Bleacher Report featured columnist Kathy Bissell posted a very informative article supporting the PGA Tour schedule changes for 2013.
I tend to disagree with the PGA Tour’s arguments for these changes.
First I like Q-School and I hate to see it go away.
PGA Tour Q-School is universally hated by PGA Tour players. The most common gripes are: It is too much of a grind, it places too much importance on just six days of play, too many good players get left behind, and it is not a harbinger of future success on the PGA Tour.
Hogwash! Competition is the American way! It brings out the best. The cream always rises to the top. The little guy has a chance to get to the top. If you want to avoid Q-School, play better throughout the PGA Tour season.
Under the new qualification system for PGA Tour membership, prospective players would serve an apprenticeship on the Web.Com Tour (previously called the Nationwide Tour). Players could also earn enough during the new Fall Series to earn a card for the upcoming season, if they can qualify to get into them.
The new qualifying requirements and lack of Q-School is the reason we are seeing the top young amateur golfers running to collect sponsorships and declare their professional status this summer. Purses and sponsor dollars are a lot less on the Web.Com Tour than the PGA Tour.
The other main change is to the fall scheduling.
The fall events will now start the following year’s FedEx Cup points and prize money earned in Fall Series will count toward the following year’s money title and rankings.
This wrap-around scheduling is similar to the European Tour’s method of starting their season in the fall.
In the United States, football starts in September. Tim Finchem and PGA Tour executives believe all of America tunes out golf and only watches football.
If you put lesser tournaments opposite football, that may be true.
Ryder Cups and Presidents Cups do very well in the October-November time slots. The FedEx Cup Playoffs and the Tour Championship are not that old and are still gaining history.
Even though the playoffs have been relatively successful and seem to be gaining momentum, they are held too early in the year. The FedEx Cup Playoffs and Championship should be the culmination of the professional golf season.
Play the Fall Series events after the PGA Championship and before the Playoffs begin. This gives the top players a chance to rest prior to the start of the four weeks of the FedEx Cup Playoffs. Plus it provides a definitive end to the golf season.
A bigger problem for the PGA Tour has always been the start of the season in the first week of January. It is difficult to get Phil and Tiger to fly all the way to Hawaii to play in a no-cut, big-purse event that soon after the New Year. The PGA Tour season begins with a PFFFT, rather than a BANG!
The tour should take a lesson from NASCAR, which starts their year with their super bowl the first week at Daytona.
Start the season with a WGC event in Hawaii. Double the world-ranking points, big purse, promote Hawaii surf and sunshine. Get all the big boys to show up, even Phil and Tiger.
One thing about professional golfers: If you pay them enough, they will come.
If the big boys show up, so will the television rankings.
For golf tips and video, visit www.toledoohiogolflessons.com. Follow on Twitter: @tolohgolfr.