There is now some clarity on who moves up to the PGA Tour vs. those who will continue to grind it out on their Kanisch-esque leather asses.
Golf’s “minor league” season concluded this weekend with the Korn Ferry Tour (KFT) Finals. No cup involved per se...much like a bad experience we had when playing hockey in our youth.
So, how exactly does an otherwise non-exempt player get the chance to peg it up with the world’s best? It used to be simple, you went to PGA Qualifying School (aka Q-School), the last being contested in 2012.
As Alice Cooper once said - (Q)-School’s. Out. For. Ever!
The “easiest” way to be fully exempt for the PGA Tour (ability to pick when/where you play):
- PGA wins (regular events - 2 years, Invitationals/WGCs - 3 years, Majors - 5 years)
- finish top 125 on the previous year’s FedEx Cup (i.e. qualify for the first playoff event)
After this, there is being partially exempt, which relies on KFT season success (complete with the Q-School level trunk slams and parking lot tantrums no doubt):
- Finish top 25 on the KFT regular-season money list (aka “The 25”)
- Existing PGA Tour members - medical exemptions, career money list exemptions, etc.
It gets even more confusing when discussing the season-ending KFT Finals events:
- Field - a combination of #126-200 on FedEx Cup points list, top 75 KFT Regular Season
- “The 25” also play (basically trying to move up their own list, they can’t lose their cards)
- The remainder of the contestants participate for another different set of 25 Tour cards
- Medallist of “The 25” after the KFT Finals gets full tour membership and a Players invite
- Medallist of KFT Finals also receives a full tour exemption and a spot in the Players
- higher finish gives better options for PGA Tour scheduling
What about Q-School? Yeah, it still exists...although it is to get onto the KFT, and not directly to the PGA Tour:
- Summary - pre-qualify (54 holes), 1st/2nd stages (72 holes), final stage (108 holes)
- Costs: $2950, $5250, $4750, $4250, respectively
- Fields littered with former PGA Tour members, KFT players, Mackenzie Tour players
Good luck getting through this qualifying process only to be left with years of chasing the urethane-covered dream grinding through the above noted gauntlet on the KFT.
And that folks, is why we’ve peaked at our Thursday Night Men’s League.