The PGA Tour announced a bold vision to create a draft program for college golfers this week, and at least one Tour veteran is not happy about it. Current Champions tour pro Olin Browne took to Twitter Wednesday night to criticize the plans.
For Browne, the failure of the idea is rooted in the recent changes made to Q-school.
“The PGA Tour used to have a pipeline from college to the Tour-it was called Q School,” Browne tweeted, continuing, “Kids used to be able qualify directly to the PGA Tour but someone changed it so college kids could only qualify for @WebDotComTour. Now they’re trying to reverse that? Brilliant?? Hardly.”
In the old Q-school system, the top 25 finishers in the 6-round qualifying tournament and the top 25 players on the Web.com tour money list would earn their PGA Tour cards for the following season. That meant that college golfers could earn a PGA Tour card directly without first playing the Web.com, provided they survived the gauntlet that was the old Q-school.
Beginning in the 2014 season, the Tour radically changed the system. Now, young players battle it out at Q-school to earn Web.com tour cards instead of exemptions to the big leagues. The top 25 Web.com money winners get full status on the PGA Tour, in addition to the top 25 finishers in the new Web.com Tour Finals, whose field consists of the top 75 on the Web.com money list, plus Nos. 126-200 on the FedEx Cup point list.
While Browne, a three-time PGA Tour winner, makes a solid criticism of the new Q-school system, one many would agree with, the proposed college draft would surely help correct some of the negative consequences from the Tour’s changes to that system.
The PGA Tour has set no timetable for the potential draft, nor have they offered many details on how the draft would work. But they have been working on the idea for years and have been in talks for a partnership with the Golf Coaches Association of America. However the system shakes out, the ultimate goal would be to provide a way for the best college golfers to make it quickly onto the PGA Tour.