PGA Tour: Will New Plans Make Qualifying School Obsolete?

John BurkeContributor IMarch 25, 2011

Rickie Fowler
Rickie FowlerDoug Benc/Getty Images

The PGA Tour announced earlier this week that it is exploring ways to change the manner tour cards for the next season are won and lost.

Ty Votaw, a spokesman for the PGA Tour, announced that discussions involving the manner have been approved but are still in their introductory stages.

The reason for all of this is simple: to strengthen the Nationwide Tour.

The Nationwide Tour, the PGA Tour's developmental tour, is losing its title after the 2012 season and is looking for a new title sponsor. 

At this point, the PGA Tour needs to do all it can to foster interest in golf's version of the minor leagues.

The most probable plan being discussed involves the players who fall outside of the top 125 in FedEx Cup standings. Those who make the top 125 following the Wyndham Championship will be eligible to play for the FedEx Cup trophy and the $35 million in prize money. For all intents and purposes, this will remain the same.

The route for those who fall outside of the top 125 looks a lot different than in previous years.

The players who fail to make the FedEx Cup playoffs will have the opportunity to compete in a three-tournament series with the top Nationwide Tour players.

It is believed that this three-tournament series will have a point system similar to that of the FedEx Cup and will comprise the players who finished from 126-200 in the PGA Tour rankings, as well as the top 50 Nationwide Tour players.

After the three tournaments, the top 50 in the new rankings will receive PGA Tour cards for the next season.

Such a change would eliminate the ability of a player to go straight from college to Qualifying School (also known as Q-School) to the big stage without playing a year on the Nationwide Tour. 

And while I am sure the proposition has its critics, there could be nothing better for the state of both tours. 

The Nationwide Tour would receive a chance to showcase the best up-and-coming players the game has to offer, and the PGA Tour would be able to boast about the best competition in the world.

Sure, it would prevent players like Rickie Fowler and Tiger Woods from making the jump straight to the PGA Tour.

But look at the players who have tried to do so and failed.

Ty Tryon was a child prodigy said to be the next Tiger Woods. He never could make the jump to the big stage and currently has conditional status on the Nationwide Tour.

Would Tryon be playing on the PGA Tour if he had time to learn on the developmental tour?

While I cannot say for sure, there is no way it could have hurt him.

Traditionalists will complain that Q-School is the best six days in golf. It has tears of joy and tears of despair. And I will admit I love watching Q-School.

No other business in the world makes its employees play for their livelihood. 

I want to see fall golf more exciting. I want to see guys have more than six days to win a card. I want to see them have three weeks.

That way if they have an off week, they can recover. 

I want to see golf become the best that it can be, and right now, that involves ditching Q-School for a three-tournament series that helps players secure cards.