This week, LPGA commissioner Mike Whan announced changes for the current LPGA qualifying school stages. Currently, there are two rounds of sectional qualifying and then a final stage held in Daytona Beach, Florida, over a five month period.
Due to the lengthy process, this makes it difficult for amateur aspiring LPGA tour golfers, especially those who are still in college. Not only do college teams have the chance of losing a star player for an entire semester, but there is no way for players to make money by playing in q-school.
Whan plans to change qualifying school from a five month process to a two or three week format, with the final week televised. There will also be a way to make some money instead of the process being a total loss for LPGA hopefuls.
“I want it to feel like an LPGA event.”
Savannah Vilaubi makes it to final stage of LPGA Q-School happening in November.
For the college players who want to get their pro-card, they will need to qualify at a Symetra Tour Q-school event, which is making a comeback once these changes ensue. Whan states that this will help defer the college players who would have a tough chance of making it to the LPGA, stating, “Listen, if you can’t come out June 1 and make your way to the top 30 on the Symetra, you aren’t going to make it on the LPGA anyway.” Tough words, but this will ensure that college players won’t risk taking their college team out of contention if they end up not getting their pro card anyway.
Kathleen Ekey is the one of the 35 Symetra Tour pros to move on to final stage of LPGA Q-School this year.
Currently, the only way to get your PGA card is to go through the Web.com tour. This is one factor that Whan’s new plan for q-school will be following, but only required for the collegiate players. PGA Q-School is also played over a lengthy four month period, but they do not have the issue of college players going directly to Q-School to get their card.
The main difference is that the PGA will still have more qualifying sites and stages and be over a lengthy four month period. At least now, LPGA hopefuls will get a chance to make money and airtime just like their aspiring PGA peers. Additionally, they may have a better chance once the collegiate players have to go through Symetra tour first.
Elin Arvidsson didn’t make it past stage three of LPGA Q-School but with the changes for next year, she may have a better chance.
Changes aren’t set in stone or confirmed yet, and may take as long as 2018 to implement. What do you think of Whan’s new plan for LPGA Q-school? Do you think PGA Q-school should follow the 3 week process as well?