PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem, saying it was "time to get better," announced sweeping changes that will end nearly 50 years of qualifying school as a way to get to golf's biggest Tour.
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 qualifying school as a way to get to golf’s biggest Tour.
The policy board approved two significant components to the overhaul — the PGA Tour season will start in October beginning in 2013 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 discussed for several months.
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What remains are the details — a lot of them.
The PGA 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.
By starting the official season in October — shortly after the FedEx Cup season ends — it allows the Tour to give more value to events now part of the Fall Series. If they are not treated like other tournaments, odds are companies would not renew their sponsorships, which would eliminate about $25 million in prize money.
Starting the season in October means Q-school no longer will be an avenue to the PGA Tour. Instead, Q-school will award cards only for the Nationwide Tour.
Finchem offered a skeleton of the plan:
After the FedEx Cup regular season ends, the Tour will take the top 75 players from the Nationwide Tour money list, along with players who finished Nos. 126 through 200 on the PGA Tour earnings list, and have them play three tournaments.
The top 50 finishers will receive PGA Tour cards.
For the last several years, the top 25 players from the Nationwide Tour received PGA Tour cards. Another 25 cards or so were handed out at Q-school.
• Tiger Woods made it through both days of the exhibition Tavistock Cup in Florida and seemingly had no problems with his left Achilles tendon.
Woods withdrew from the final round of the Cadillac Championship in Miami after finishing 11 holes on March 11, citing tightness in the Achilles tendon.
Woods plans to play in the Arnold Palmer Invitational, which starts Thursday at Bay Hill in Orlando, Fla., and in the Masters, which starts April 5 at Augusta National in Georgia.
Woods, playing for Team Albany, shot an even-par 72 Tuesday; 19 of the 24 Tavistock Cup players had lower scores. The host Lake Nona team won the event at 41 under.