Horror Stories From PGA Tour Q-School
By Jake O'Reilly
30 November 2012 14:03
In a little corner of California this week golf is witnessing the end of an era, as 171 men try to win their PGA Tour cards at the last ever Qualifying School event.
As of 2013, the only way to find your way onto the PGA Tour will be to graduate from a gruelling season on the Web.com Tour - America’s second tier golf Tour - or win enough money through the majors, WGCs and invites to finish in the top-115 on the money list and win a card outright.
Q-School is being binned after 47 years, meaning only 25 more players will walk away as graduates from the Stadium and Nicklaus Tournament courses at PGA West in La Quinta come Monday.
It takes away the high pressure 108 holes that make Q-School so captivating, but arguably rewarding season long consistency will prove a fairer method of rewarding those chasing the dream.
Nonetheless, we will miss hearing more stories like these in years to come....
In his first Q School in 1976, Curtis Strange bogeyed his final three holes and missed qualifying by a stroke. "I choked and I couldn't handle it," said the future 17-time winner, including back-to-back U.S. Opens in 1988 and 1989.
In 1998 Todd Demsey three-putted from 10-feet to miss out by one. He would not return to the PGA Tour until 2008 and is back in the Q-School field this week.
A year later in 1999 Jaxon Brigman thought he needed to make his short birdie putt on the last hole to qualify, but missed. He dejectedly signed for a score one too many, when his correct score would have been enough to qualify. When he learned of his mistake he sobbed uncontrollably, "It was almost like a death in the family," he said. He never did earn a PGA Tour card.
In 2000 David Gossett shot an incredible 59 on the Nicklaus Course at PGA West, but five other rounds in the 70s meant he failed to earn his PGA Tour card.
Finally, two men experienced heartbreak in 2004; first Joe Daley missed out by one, having seen a four-footer hit a badly inserted metal cup and bounce out from the bottom of the hole (happily, he won the Senior Players Championship this year).
Before Sean Pacetti, needing only a par on the 18th hole, hooked his tee shot into the water, leading to a triple bogey. Since then Pacetti has never been a member of the PGA Tour and has played in only five tour events.