Q-School timeline: History of golf's most grueling event

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 30, 2012, 8:44 pm

As the final stage of PGA Tour Q-School is contested for the final time this weekend at PGA West, our Golf Channel Research Unit takes a look back at some of the major changes and developments to golf's ultimate test of endurance:

1965: The PGA of America creates the Tournament Training and Qualifying Program to improve the quality of players earning status into tournaments. Staged across 11 days, the program featured 144 holes of golf in addition to a written test and lectures on how to be responsible golfers. Of the 49 participants in 1965, 17 earned their Approved Tournament Player status, including Jim Colbert.

Spring 1968: In an effort to provide players more opportunities to qualify, the PGA of America begins holding Q-School in both the spring and the fall. Graduates from the Spring 1968 session include Hale Irwin.

Fall 1968: After forming as a splinter group and holding its own alternative Q-School in the fall of 1968, the Tournament Players Division officially separates from the PGA of America. Led by former U.S. Golf Association executive director Joe Dey, the TPD would serve as a precursor for the PGA Tour. 

1969: Officially independent from the PGA of America, the Tournament Players Division continues to hold two Q-School sessions, but reduces them both from 144 to 72 holes. Notable qualifiers in the Spring 1969 session include Johnny Miller.

1970: After two years, the concept of two Q-Schools per year is abandoned, while pre-qualifiers are introduced for the first time. Nine 54-hole qualifiers help reduce a pool of 250 applicants to 60 players who participate in Q-School Finals, of which 18 earn their PGA Tour cards – including Hubert Green and Jim Dent.

1971: The format for Q-School is again altered, with three 72-hole qualifiers taking the place of nine 54-hole events that had been previously held. The finals were also extended to 108 holes for the first time. The 1971 class was perhaps the greatest in the event's history, with major champions Tom Watson, Lanny Wadkins, John Mahaffey and David Graham among the 23 graduates.

1973: Q-School is extended to 144 holes across two different sites 500 miles apart. Participants played four rounds in Pensacola, Fla., followed by four rounds in Myrtle Beach, S.C., as organizers sought to replicate the experience of traveling from place to place as part of the qualification process. Larry Nelson, Gil Morgan and Gary McCord join medalist Ben Crenshaw on the PGA Tour the following year.

1975: The Tournament Players Division is officially renamed the PGA Tour, and the format of Q-School is once again amended. The tournament is reduced from 144 to 108 holes, held in both spring and fall, while qualifiers are eliminated. Graduates include Gary Koch, Andy Bean and Jerry Pate, who would win the U.S. Open the following year.

1977: Regional qualifiers are re-introduced before the Fall 1977 Q-School, with the finals reduced from 108 to 72 holes. Curtis Strange headlines the group that receives their cards in the spring session.

1982: The Tour returns to a format that is still in place today, opting for only one annual Q-School and increasing its duration from 72 to 108 holes. While previous graduates simply earned the right to compete in Monday qualifiers, players now would receive 'all-exempt' status on the PGA Tour, making them full members upon graduation. Notable graduates include future major champions Nick Price, Jeff Sluman and Tom Lehman.

1984: Half of the PGA Championships between 1986 and 1993 are won by 1984 Q-School graduates, as Bob Tway (1986), Jeff Sluman (1988), Wayne Grady (1990) and Paul Azinger (1993) all earn playing privileges in the fall of 1984.

1986: The PGA Tour adds another stage of qualifiers, making Q-School a three-step process. A group of 53 players earning their cards includes major winners Steve Elkington and Steve Jones, who earned medalist honors.

1990: This marks the first year in which Q-School would not be the exclusive path to the PGA Tour. With the advent of the Ben Hogan (now Web.com) Tour, the number of cards available at Q-School was reduced from 50 to 45 (inclusive of ties), with the top five players on the Hogan Tour also earning cards. Q-School graduates include John Daly, who would win the PGA Championship the following year, while the Hogan Tour money list is topped by Jeff Maggert.

1992: The distribution of playing privileges for the following year is again adjusted, with cards awarded to the top 10 on the Hogan Tour while only the top 40 and ties would survive Q-School.

1994: The total number of Q-School applicants hits 1,000 for the first time, as Woody Austin earns medalist honors. Austin would be named rookie of the year on the PGA Tour the following year.

1997: A cut after 72 holes is abandoned, meaning all participants in the final stage of Q-School would play 108 holes. The Nike (formerly Hogan) Tour is now allocated 15 cards for its top finishers, while the top 35 and ties at Q-School earn playing privileges for the following year. 

2001: At age 17, Ty Tryon becomes the youngest person to ever advance through the final stage of Q-School. After earning his card for 2002, Tryon has to wait until turning 18 before competing as a full member as part of a rule adopted by the PGA Tour in September 2001 in response to Tryon and Kevin Na both turning professional at the age of 17. Other notable Q-School graduates included Luke Donald and Shaun Micheel.

2003: The newly named Nationwide (formerly Nike) Tour begins awarding cards to its top 20 finishers, leaving cards for only the top 30 and ties at Q-School. Graduates include Hunter Mahan and Todd Hamilton, who would win the British Open the following summer.

2006: An additional pre-qualifying stage is created, meaning for some Q-School becomes a four-step process.

2007: The Nationwide Tour begins offering cards to its top 25 finishers, reducing the allotment for Q-School to the top 25 finishers and ties. Graduates include Tommy Gainey, Dustin Johnson and future PGA champion Y.E. Yang.

2012: The PGA Tour announces a new wrap-around schedule for the 2013-2014 season, effectively ending Q-School as a means of direct entry to the PGA Tour.

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Watch: Tiger throws dart, pours in birdie at 8

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 18, 2018, 7:31 pm

Starting Sunday five off the lead, Tiger Woods teed off his final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational with a laced 2-iron and a par at No. 1.

Woods hit the green at the par-3 second but left himself a 50-foot birdie putt and a 6-footer to save par, which we walked in.

A two-putt 4 at the par-5 fourth gave Woods his first birdie of the day and moved him to 8 under for the week. Apparently energized, Tiger pulled driver at the short par-4 fifth and unleashed this violent swing.

A pitch from the thick rough hit a sprinkler head and stopped on the apron, leading to this birdie try, which fortunately hit the pin but unfortunately didn't fall.

Looking to pick up another stroke - or two - at the par-5 sixth, Woods took his drive 317 yards over the water and hit this second shot from 227 yards to 13 feet, leading to another two-putt birdie when his eagle try burned the right edge.

Returning to his trusty 2-iron, Tiger found the fairway at par-4 eighth and then threw this dart from 176 yards to 6 feet and rolled in his third birdie putt of the day to move to 10 under.

(More coming...)

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Tiger Tracker: Arnold Palmer Invitational

By Tiger TrackerMarch 18, 2018, 5:00 pm

Tiger Woods will start Sunday five off the lead at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. How will he follow up last week's runner-up? We're tracking him at Bay Hill.

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McIlroy: Time for Tour to limit alcohol sales on course

By Ryan LavnerMarch 18, 2018, 1:50 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. – Rory McIlroy suggested Saturday that the PGA Tour might need to consider curbing alcohol sales to stop some of the abusive fan behavior that has become more prevalent at events.

McIlroy said that a fan repeatedly yelled his wife’s name (Erica) during the third round at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

“I was going to go over and have a chat with him,” McIlroy said. “I think it’s gotten a little much, to be honest. I think they need to limit the alcohol sales on the course, or they need to do something, because every week it seems like guys are complaining about it more and more.

Full-field scores from the Arnold Palmer Invitational

Arnold Palmer Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

“I know that people want to come and enjoy themselves, and I’m all for that, but sometimes when the comments get personal and people get a little bit rowdy, it can get a little much.”

This isn’t the first time that McIlroy has voiced concerns about fan behavior on Tour. Last month at Riviera, he said the rowdy spectators probably cost Tiger Woods a half-shot a round, and after two days in his featured group he had a splitting headache.

A week later, at the Honda Classic, Justin Thomas had a fan removed late in the final round.

McIlroy believes the issue is part of a larger problem, as more events try to replicate the success of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, which has one of the liveliest atmospheres on Tour.

“It’s great for that tournament, it’s great for us, but golf is different than a football game, and there’s etiquette involved and you don’t want people to be put off from bringing their kids when people are shouting stuff out,” he said. “You want people to enjoy themselves, have a good day.”

As for a solution, well, McIlroy isn’t quite sure.

“It used to be you bring beers onto the course or buy beers, but not liquor,” he said. “And now it seems like everyone’s walking around with a cocktail. I don’t know whether (the solution) is to go back to letting people walking around with beers in their hands. That’s fine, but I don’t know.”

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Confident Lincicome lurking after 54 holes at Founders

By Randy SmithMarch 18, 2018, 2:45 am

PHOENIX – Brittany Lincicome is farther back than she wanted to be going into Sunday at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, but she’s in a good place.

She’s keeping the momentum of her season-opening Pure Silk Bahamas Classic victory going this year.

Her confidence is high.

“Last year, I won in the Bahamas, but then I didn't do anything after that,” Lincicome said. “I don't even know if I had a top 10 after my win in the Bahamas. Obviously, this year, I want to be more consistent.”

Lincicome followed up her victory in the Bahamas this year with a tie for seventh in her next start at the Honda LPGA Thailand. And now she’s right back on another leaderboard with the year’s first major championship just two weeks away. She is, by the way, a two-time winner at the ANA Inspiration.

Missy Pederson, Lincicome’s caddie, is helping her player keep that momentum going with more focus on honing in the scoring clubs.

“One of our major goals is being more consistent,” Pederson said. “She’s so talented, a once in a generation talent. I’m just trying to help out in how to best approach every golf course.”

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

Pederson has helped Lincicome identify the clubs they’re likely to attack most with on the particular course they are playing that week, to spend more time working with those clubs in practice. It’s building confidence.

“I know the more greens we hit, and the more chances we give ourselves, the more our chances are to be in contention,” Pederson said. “Britt is not big into stats or details, so I have to figure out how to best consolidate that information, to get us exactly where we need to be.”

Lincicome’s growing comfort with clubs she can attack with is helping her confidence through a round.

“I’ve most noticed consistency in her mental game, being able to handle some of the hiccups that happen over the course of a round,” Pederson said. “Whereas before, something might get under her skin, where she might say, `That’s what always happens,’ now, it’s, `All right, I know I’m good enough to get this back.’ I try to get her in positions to hit the clubs we are really hitting well right now.”

That’s leading to a lot more birdies, fewer bogeys and more appearances on leaderboards in the start to this year.