Sunday, October 31, 2010

Q School and Michael Thompson - What's Going On?

Question: What does all this stuff about 2010 Q School mean?
Answer: The PGA's Qualifying School (Q School) has 4 stages:
  • Prequalifying Stage (for players with no prior history of competition)
  • First Stage. About 80 people play for approximately 25 spots to advance to the next stage. This is what Michael just completed, finishing 3rd.
  • Second Stage. The people that got by the First Stage play in another tournament, again needing to finish in the top 20% or so to move on. 
  • Final Stage. The real goal for Michael is to at least make it to the Final Stage. Everyone that makes it, automatically gets to play on the Nationwide Tour the next year (more money, more prestige, televised events), and the top finishers of the final stage will get to play on the PGA tour. If you don't make it, it's back to the Hooters Tour or other development golf tours.
Question: What about 2011 Q School?
Answer: If Michael can make it to the Final Stage, earning his Nationwide or PGA tour card, next year he would at a minimum, automatically advance to the Second Stage of Q School. If he were on the Nationwide tour and finished in the top 25 on the money list, he would automatically earn a PGA tour card and skip the Q School process. If he finished in the top 25-40, he would get a pass advancing him all the way to the Final Stage. It's one of those things, where once your'e in, it's a little bit easier to stay in...but getting there is the hard part.

Question: How far has he gotten before?
Answer: In 2008 he made the cut at the US Open, thus earning a pass to the Second Stage of Q School, although he didn't make it to the Final Stage (Tied for 52nd). In 2009 he barely missed advancing past the First Stage (T-30). This year, he has now made it to Second Stage.

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