|PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem announced Tuesday that Q-School had been downgraded to a Nationwide Tour qualifier. (GETTY IMAGES)
PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem explained several Tour changes at a news conference Tuesday but all we kept hearing was, “Money, money, money, money, money, money.”
Finchem announced that the policy board has made official significant changes to Q-School and the PGA Tour schedule beginning in 2013.
Going forward, all 50 PGA Tour cards will be awarded through the Nationwide Tour. Gone are the days of a Cinderella story surviving all the stages of Q-School to earn a his PGA card. Graduates of Q-School will now only earn a spot on the Nationwide Tour. At the end of the year, the top Nationwide players will join some of the bottom PGA Tour players in a three-round playoff with a chance to earn their PGA Tour card.
Finchem had plenty of reasons why this decision was made. He mentioned several times that Nationwide graduates do better than Q-School grads when they get to the PGA. He mentioned the excitement that the three-tournament playoff will bring. Then he mentioned the real reason.
Nationwide is in its final year as title sponsor of golf’s stepping stone tour and increasing the importance of the Nationwide Tour makes it easier to attract a new sponsor.
The other major change is that the 2014 PGA Tour season will actually start in 2013.
Instead of each season beginning in January in Hawaii, the season will start in October after the season-ending Tour Championship. The Fall Series events now kickoff the new season and will award Fedex Cup points.
Golf is, by its very nature, a seasonal sport. Beginning the season as leaves fall off the trees and the cold weather arrives to much of North America is wrong.
Again, this seems to be more about money than anything. The Fall Series events can now go to sponsors with their chest puffed out a bit more.
In case you can’t tell, I’m not a fan of either move.
Everyone understands that professional golf is about money, it just is a shame when cash seems to dictate the Tour’s every move.
Golf is very much about history and tradition and although Tuesday’s changes might be good for business they are bad for the game.