The PGA Tour schedule will undergo a major overhaul as part of a plan which will see Qualifying School turned into a vehicle for funnelling players to the developmental Nationwide Tour series.
PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem took the wraps off the widely reported changes Tuesday after the Tour's Policy Board signed off on the framework for the makeover which will see the season end at the FedEx Cup finale in mid-September and the new season start with what used to be the Fall Series.
Q-School, which used to be the pipeline for players to graduate directly to the PGA Tour, will now be the method for players to earn their Nationwide Tour card as the developmental tour takes over as the primary means of earning a PGA Tour card.
All 50 PGA Tour membership cards will now be awarded through a three tournament swing on the Nationwide Tour which will combine both PGA and Nationwide Tour players. The three final events, which will be held during the FedExCup Playoffs, will include the top 75 players on the Nationwide Tour's money list, the players ranked 126-200 on the PGA Tour's FedExCup points list and non-members who meet certain eligibility standards.
Finchem said that certain details must still be finalized, such as the competition system which will determine the 50 PGA Tour cards, the level of FedExCup points to the PGA Tour's fall tournaments and other details.
The start of the PGA Tour's 2013-14 season will begin in October 2013 and conclude in late September 2014 with the Tour Championship, the fourth and final FedExCup Playoff event. In making this change, the fall tournaments will begin awarding FedExCup points in 2013.
The moves are aimed at increasing the value of the developmental tour to a potential future title sponsor. Nationwide is set to end its association with the Tour at the end of this year.
"Say bye bye to Q-school," tweeted Billy Horschel after the changes were approved. "Sorry college and mini tour players no PGA cards for you right away. Must spend a year the NWT."
Not all players were upset with the Q-school changes.
"I'm not sure I understand why so many people are up at arms with the q school changes," tweeted Kevin Streelman. "This coming from someone who got his card thru qschool."
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