Johnny Miller, Brandel Chamblee Say Old Q-School Better Than Playoffs

Kathy BissellCorrespondent ISeptember 5, 2013

Johnny Miller with Dan Hicks during the 2012 Ryder Cup
Johnny Miller with Dan Hicks during the 2012 Ryder CupScott Halleran/Getty Images

We're only a week and a day into the Playoffs that determine the second 25 PGA Tour cards for 2014, out of a total of 50, and already two guys with some experience say they like the old Q-School better.

"I like the simplicity of the old Tour School," Johnny Miller said. "I like the fact that a great player, let's say a Ben Crenshaw, comes right out and finishes second and first. You know, he's so good that he should be able to just basically win the Tour School and then just go out and kick butt on the Tour."

He said what he calls "super players," like Crenshaw or Phil Mickelson, shouldn't have to play a second-tier tour for a year. Right now that's the only path, other than the seven exemptions allowed by tournaments, to get to the PGA Tour.

Brandel Chamblee was so opposed to the new method for getting a PGA Tour card that he made an appointment with the PGA Tour staff to discuss it. He said the PGA Tour board is composed of players who have never had a situation where they fell down so far in money that they had to go through the process of going back to Q-School or the Tour for a season.

"For crying out loud, Jack Nicklaus won a major championship his rookie year," Chamblee said. "Hal Sutton won a major championship his rookie year, to say nothing on the impact this is going to have on international golf." He added that international golfers will now have to come and play a season of what he labeled mini-tour golf before they can graduate to the PGA Tour.

In the past, PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem has said that players can still earn a spot by getting exemptions to PGA Tour events and winning enough money to get in the top 125. Historically, you could count those on two hands: Justin Leonard, Tiger Woods, Ryan Moore, Gary Hallberg, Bud Cauley (although he was not able to keep it), Scott Verplank and now Jordan Speith.

Mickelson and Verplank won PGA Tour events as amateurs, a feat that would be rare today since it is even harder to get exemptions for PGA Tour events than it was then.

"Everybody that's at this playoffs has been beat up," Chamblee said, referring mainly to those from 126-200 on the PGA Tour. "They haven't played well and they are in an event now with new hope. But for the whole year, they have been beat up. Their games are not where they are supposed to be and psychologically they have not been where they needed to be."  

He said it was four weeks mainly of players who are mentally whipped from not playing well versus having players come through the Q-School process where the ones who are successful advance.

From that perspective, the Q-School could be called a success process versus the method which may in some cases be a reclamation process.

"The train is going down the tracks. A lot of times it's not the train that Brandel and I want to get on, but I guess it's going down the tracks," Miller added about the new procedures. "I don't love it, but I guess I'm hopping on."

"These ( Playoff events, are probably going to be very interesting to watch and compare how guys play against the PGA Tour guys and make extrapolations from that. But I'm not a big fan of it, not one bit," Chamblee concluded.  "I think it is a dreadful thing for young players, making you have to having spend a year in the minor leagues when they have a chance to go right to the major leagues if they are good enough. I don't like it."


Kathy Bissell is a Golf Writer for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained first-hand or from official interview materials from the USGA, PGA Tour or PGA of America.