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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

It began with a total of 1,588 players that sent in applications to participate in the 2012 PGA TOUR Qualifying Tournament. Eight pre-qualifiers, along with 14 first- and six second-stage regionals were held to reduce the field down to 172. The lucky ones were left to compete to be the top 25 players and ties, which provided a coveted PGA TOUR card for 2013.

While this was the last qualifying school offering entry on to the big boy tour, consider the following as just part of the opening ante of what it takes to be a possible member of the TOUR. A total of 110 players in the starting field of 172 at this year’s Q-School posted sub-par scores in their opening round. Last year, 106 of 173 players were under-par after the first round. The number grew to 134 players in the starting field of 172 that posted par-or-better scores on day one. Last year, 125 of 173 players were at par-or-better after the first round. Consider there are some opening day jitters for everyone, but the pressure grows as each new day arrives. It isn’t so much how you start, but rather how you finish. Six rounds are grueling regardless of what is on the line.

There were 26 players who were at 17-under par or better, but Brad Fritsch had already earned his card by virtue of finishing among the 25 leading money winners on the 2012 Tour and did not count towards the total of 25 and ties.

Here is a list of historical scores that were needed to secure PGA TOUR status at PGA West in previous years:
2002 (top 35 and ties) 38 cards 8-under 424
2004 (top 30 and ties) 35 cards 7-under 425
2006 (top 30 and ties) 40 cards 8-under 424
2008 (top 25 and ties) 28 cards 19-under 413
2011 (top 25 and ties) 29 cards 8-under 424
2012 (top 25 and ties) 26 cards 17-under 415

Here is a list of the 26 players who collected PGA TOUR cards this week and you will be hearing more about in 2013. The list contains the total career starts on the PGA TOUR for each of the players with the 2012 rookies (11 total) listed in bold:

Player Career Starts
Dong Hwan Lee ---1
Ross Fisher -------37
Steve LeBrun ----- 3
Richard H. Lee ----- 24
Billy Horschel ------ 49
Kris Blanks -------- 102
Erik Compton ------ 56
Brad Fritsch ------- 5
Jin Park ------------ 39
Fabian Gomez ----- 26
Michael Letzig ----- 97
Jeff Gove ---------- 163
Steven Bowditch --- 75
Matt Jones -------- 120
Robert Karlsson -- 103
Eric Meierdierks - 1
Scott Langley ---- 5
Aaron Watkins ---- 21
Derek Ernst ---- 1
Si Woo Kim ----- 0
Tag Ridings ------ 182
Donald Constable - 0
Bobby Gates ------ 61
Patrick Reed ----- 15
Henrik Norlander - 0
Chez Reavie ------ 131

There were seven 2012 Tour graduates (Lee Williams, Brad Fritsch, Morgan Hoffman, Brian Stuard, Andrew Svoboda, Nicholas Thompson and Jim Herman) in the field trying to improve their eligibility standings for the 2013 season. Brad Fritsch, who was No. 18 in the Tour, is the only player from this group to improve his number after he finished T7. Fast company to say the least and once January arrives the pressure to generate low scores only heightens!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Orlando, Fla. — PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem, saying it was "time to get better," announced Tuesday sweeping changes that will end nearly 50 years of Q-school as a way to get to golf's biggest tour.

The policy board on Tuesday approved two significant components to the overhaul — the PGA Tour season will start in October, and the developmental Nationwide Tour will be the primary path to get a PGA Tour card.

Cards would be awarded at a three-tournament series blending Nationwide Tour and PGA Tour players.

The board approved the concept, which has been talked about for several months.

What remains are the details — a lot of them.

"Any time you make a change, human nature is, 'Why are we changing? If it ain't broke don't fix it.' There's another way to look at things," Finchem said. "When things are going pretty well, that's the time to get better."

But while the tour wants to make sure players are better equipped when they reach the PGA Tour, money is behind the change, too.

The tour wants to make the Nationwide Tour more appealing as it searches for a new title sponsor — this is the final year of sponsorship for the Ohio-based insurance company. Finchem said the tour is talking with several companies, though "close might not be the right word."

By starting the official season in October — shortly after the FedEx Cup season ends — it allows the tour to give more value to the tournaments now part of the Fall Series. If they are not treated like other tournaments, odds are they would not renew their sponsorship, which would eliminate some $25 million in prize money.

Starting the season in October means that Q-school no longer can be an avenue to the PGA Tour. Instead, Q-school will award cards for only the Nationwide Tour.

Finchem offered only a skeleton of the plan:

— After the FedEx Cup regular season ends in August 2013, the tour will take the top 75 players from the Nationwide Tour money list, along with the players who finished No. 126 through 200 on the PGA Tour money list, and have them play three tournaments. The top 50 will receive PGA Tour cards for the following season.

The biggest problem for the board is blending two very different tours. Finchem said his staff has discussed seeding the players in such a way that the top 25 from the Nationwide Tour are assured of being among the top 50. The only thing that would suffer if they played badly in the three-tournament series is their ranking for the next season.

For the last several years, the top 25 players from the Nationwide Tour received tour cards. Another 25 cards or so were handed out at Q-school, which often produced a few heartwarming stories of a long shot who achieved his dream of reaching the tour.

Finchem said research shows that players who spent a year on the Nationwide Tour are more equipped for the rigors of travel than someone who gets hot for six rounds and gets a card. He also said an average 1.4 players go from college to Q-school and get their cards. Among them are Dustin Johnson and J.B. Holmes, both of whom won in their rookie season.

This year, 21-year-old John Huh made it through all three stages of Q-school and won last month in Mexico against a weak field. Under the change, however, the Mexico event would be held in the fall as part of the new season.

The change in earning cards begins in 2013. That means the 50 players who earn their cards will only have eight months to finish among the top 125 on the PGA Tour, instead of having six extra events in the fall to make up ground.

— The fall events will be the start of the new season in October 2013. Still to be determined is whether those tournaments will offer the same number of FedEx Cup points as tournaments held from January until the FedEx Cup playoffs begin in August.

Not awarding similar points could be a problem.

Golf World magazine, in a story for its digital edition Monday, obtained a letter from the Open in which it expressed "concern about continuing our sponsorship" if the fall events are only given half the points.

Fry's has the greatest potential of a large purse and is geared toward being a big event.

Finchem said offering full points for every tournament remains a possibility. It was one of the details still to be discussed, and he said he would go back to the 16-member Player Advisory Council for comments.

The notion of abandoning the traditional means of PGA Tour access — Q-school — first was brought up one year ago. It took this long to get the concept approved. The hard work figures to be in the details, but by announcing that it has approved the plan, the tour has left itself a little more than a year to get that sorted out.

"I think the player directors felt ... a lot of times, it's easier to get everybody focused when you know it's going to happen," Finchem said. "So this is going to happen. And now we've got a couple of things that we have got to make sure we do right."

One thing Finchem made clear is that everything revolves around the FedEx Cup, which last month renewed its deal through 2017.

"It means that the PGA TOUR competition is the FedEx Cup," Finchem said. "We like that. And we like what it does for those tournaments involved and for the sponsors involved."

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Monday, December 12, 2011

Luke Donald became the first golfer to win both the PGA Tour and European Tour money titles, finishing third in the Dubai World Championship on Sunday behind winner Alvaro Quiros.

Quiros made a 40-foot eagle putt on the 18th hole for a two-shot victory over 1999 British Open champion Paul Lawrie.

The top-ranked Donald, who won the PGA title earlier this year, had to finish better than ninth or hope Rory McIlroy didn't win the tournament. McIlroy, weakened with a virus all week, tied for 11th at 9-under 279. That left McIlroy more than $1.34 million behind Donald in the money race.

"It's funny to kind of sum up my feelings" said Donald, who has just come back from five weeks off in which he buried his father and was on hand for the birth of his second child.

"You know, this is something I've wanted for the past few months, to try and win both money lists," Donald said. "It's very strange because I looked at the leaderboard on 13 and couldn't see Rory. I couldn't see Rory's name on there and the leaders were playing well, and at that point, I kind of knew I had made history and the last six holes were kind of surreal."

Quiros had a final-round 5-under 67 on the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates to finish at 269. Donald was three shots behind Quiros after he ran off three birdies in a row for a 6-under 66. Peter Hanson of Sweden was fourth, another two shots back, and Masters champion Charl Schwartzel was in fifth another shot behind.

Friday, July 9, 2010


Paul Goydos' scorecard Thursday shows birdies for 8 holes on the back nine.


Paul Goydos opened with a 12-under-par round.

After four months of rather poor play on the PGA Tour, Paul Goydos managed to turn things around just a bit — he shot a 59.

Out of nowhere.

"Today was a nuclear bomb," Goydos said. "I don't know where it came from. If I knew that, I wouldn't be able to touch it."

But Goydos held merely a one-stroke lead Thursday after an incredible opening round at the John Deere Classic. Defending champion Steve Stricker shot a 60, making for the two lowest scores of all time in a round at a PGA Tour event.

Goydos had eight birdies on the back nine of the par-71 TPC Deere Run course, which was softened by three days of intermittent rain.

Previous PGA Tour rounds of 59 were by Al Geiberger (1977), Chip Beck (1991) and David Duval (1999), all on par-72 courses.

Goydos has missed seven cuts and made 10 this year. He hasn't had a top-40 finish since early May. He led the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in February by a stroke with five holes to play, only to tumble out of contention with a quadruple-bogey 9 on No. 14.

"I've been very good at playing poorly now for the last 10 tournaments or so," Goydos said.

Of the 59, Goydos said, "It's almost a mythical number in our game. I've gone from clubbing a ball in the backyard all the way to the moon, and missed all the steps in between."

Goydos hasn't won on the Tour since 2007 and has two victories in 18 years overall. He is ranked 137th in the world.

Goydos ended his round by making a 7-foot putt.

"Standing over that last putt, I was probably as nervous as I've ever been over a putt in my life," he said. "The putt would have gone in a thimble."


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Monday, September 28, 2009

ATLANTA — Phil Mickelson had the smaller check and felt like the biggest winner. Top-ranked Tiger Woods was congratulated after he finished second in The Tour Championship at East Lake.

Sunday was the ninth time the game's biggest stars finished in the top two places at a tournament. They shared the spotlight, each going home with a trophy that was meaningful.

Mickelson made a spectacular rally, closing with a 5-under-par 65 to go from four shots behind to a three-stroke victory, his first since his wife and mother were diagnosed with breast cancer in the spring.

Woods made two late birdies, not enough to put much heat on Mickelson, but enough to secure the FedEx Cup and its $10 million first-place bonus. It capped a season in which he returned from major knee surgery, won six times and was no worse than second in nine of his 17 tournaments.

"I like the way today went," Mickelson said. "I was two back of him [Woods]; I beat him by three. He gets the $10 million check, and I get $1 million. I've got no problem with that. I just love holding this, finally."

Lefty motioned toward the crystal trophy of The Tour Championship, which has not belonged to him since he won in 2000 by again rallying in the final round to defeat Woods.

Mickelson finished at 9-under 271 and made $1.35 million. He also collected a $3 million bonus for being second in the FedEx Cup points race. It was his third victory of the year and the 37th of his career; he will be second in this week's Official World Golf Ranking.

"It means a lot to finish the year off on such a good note," Mickelson said. "We've been through a lot, and I'm very proud of my wife and my mom on the fight that they've been through."

Kenny Perry (74) led by four shots after two holes before tying for fourth.

Despite the big payoff, Woods was thinking about missing putts inside 20 feet.

"I'm sure I would probably be more happy tomorrow than I am right now, because you're in the moment trying to win this event," he said.

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