LPGA commissioner Mike Whan announced this week that beginning in 2018 the LPGA tour Q-school will follow a brand-new format. And similar to the PGA Tour's own overhaul a few years back, it will be more difficult for golfers to earn their LPGA tour cards.
The first two stages of Q-school will remain unchanged, continuing with two 72-hole stroke play events, but the third stage will be very different. It will know be known as the Q Series.
Instead of the top 80 and ties from the first two stages getting into stage three of Q-school, only about 25 players from the first two events will qualify for the Q Series. The rest of the field will be made up of pros ranked 101-150 on the LPGA tour, players ranked 11-30 on developmental Symetra tour, players ranked in the top 100 in the world rankings who aren't LPGA members, and the top 5 collegiate players in the country.
The format of the Q series will change from 90 holes to 144. The 144 holes will be spread between two four-round stroke play events, and the scores will be cumulative.
Whan says that it will indeed be more difficult for players to earn their LPGA cards in the new system, "you can still go Stage 1, Stage 2, Q Series, LPGA card. But that will be a much tighter funnel and harder to do. The superstars of the time will still get through that, but generally speaking most players will get to stage two, play a year on the Symetra Tour and play their way on to the LPGA," according to Golfworld.
The final traditional stage three of Q school will be played a week from now, with the new system being put in place for 2018.