There are some significant changes to the structure of the qualifying system for the PGA TOUR ahead, thanks to alterations approved by the Policy Board and announced Tuesday by PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem.
Starting with the 2013 season, all 50 PGA TOUR membership cards will now be awarded through the Nationwide Tour; the three final tournaments on the Nationwide Tour will combine PGA TOUR and Nationwide Tour players to determine who earns those 50 cards; and the annual Qualifying Tournament will become a pathway exclusively to the Nationwide Tour.
The fields for the three final Nationwide Tour 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.
“We are excited to announce these significant changes, as we strongly believe that they will strengthen both Tours,” Finchem (pictured) said at a news conference at the Arnold Palmer Invitational site in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. “The Nationwide Tour, which has proven to be the most effective indicator of future success on the PGA TOUR, will now become the primary path to the TOUR starting in 2013 by awarding all 50 cards. And with the restructuring, those final three events will create a particularly exciting and dramatic finish to the season.”
Finchem also announced a change in the start of the PGA TOUR season, beginning in October 2013. That season will end 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.
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 items.
“In regard to the change to the start of the PGA TOUR season, the fall tournaments certainly will benefit by becoming part of the FedExCup season,” Finchem said. “But the benefit also extends to FedEx, our telecasts of those tournaments and the understanding among fans that there’s a true finality to the season, with the FedExCup and eligibility for the PGA TOUR concluding at the same time.”