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Changes to Tour cards mean schedule changes

PGA Tour
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MOBILE, AL - NOVEMBER 10: Ben Barry of Tuscaloosa carries a stuffed Pink Panther on his shoulders as he follows Paula Creamer through her third round play in The Mitchell Company LPGA Tournament of Champions at Magnolia Grove Golf Course on November 10, 2007 in Mobile, Alabama. Creamer is nicknamed the Pink Panther. (Photo by Dave Martin/Getty Images)  - 

The dates of the proposed new three-event series, slated to begin in 2013 – which would become the exclusive path to the PGA Tour – may also force a new bookend to the Tour year.

Under the proposal, the top 75 earners from the Nationwide Tour and the first 75 players who fail to qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs would meet in a series of three events to dole out 50 PGA Tour cards for the next season. Q-school would then only award status on the Nationwide Tour.

When that series happens, however, will determine when subsequent seasons start.

The 2013 PGA Tour and Nationwide years will begin next January, as has been custom. Using the 2012 schedules as a guide, however, the Nationwide Tour will award its 25 PGA Tour cards five weeks after the final putt determines the FedEx Cup winner. If that remains true next year, the 50 graduates from the series could be at a disadvantage in 2014.

As reported by's Rex Hoggard, the Tour has discussed a move to begin the 2014 season after the '13 playoffs in October. Maintaining that three-week gap between the end of the FedEx Cup and the end of the Nationwide Tour season, the 150 players who would be competing for their livelihoods after the FedEx Cup has been decided would do so as the '14 PGA Tour season begins.

To avoid creating a competitive disadvantage for the graduates of the finals series, it would seem the creation of the finals is a package deal – one that comes with more alignment in the schedules of the PGA and Nationwide Tours.