Q-school a true litmus test for golfers seeking 2009 PGA Tour card
Eventually, just about every professional golfer must try to find the answer to the question that lingers somewhere deep inside: Do I belong on the PGA Tour?
Back To School
Even though everyone at Q-school has the same goal of earning a PGA Tour card, the tournament means different things to different players.In an effort to give ESPN.com readers insight into different golfers at various stages in their careers, we will select one player from each of the three categories listed below each day during Q-school and get his thoughts about where he stands and how that affects his approach to Q-school. The categories are: 1. PGA Tour veterans trying to hold on to their cards in the final years before they are old enough to attempt to play on the Champions Tour. 2. Players in the middle of their careers trying to revive a derailed PGA Tour dream or reach the tour after past failed attempts. 3. Rising stars seemingly destined for success who are trying to reach the tour for the first time.
Check back daily during Q-school for the latest news and results from one of the most grueling tests in golf. -- Peter Yoon
It sits there begging for an answer, no matter whether a golfer is young and confident or aging and filled with self-doubt. It rears itself in the minds of grizzled minitour veterans, bright-eyed rookies, past PGA Tour winners and inexperienced upstarts.If they aren't on the PGA Tour, they yearn to know whether they could be. Some of them will find out this week. The PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament -- better known as Q-school -- will get under way Wednesday at PGA West in La Quinta, Calif. There, 163 players from varied backgrounds will vie for membership in golf's most elite club. Those who finish among the top 25 and ties will earn unconditional membership for the PGA Tour in 2009. Among those who will tee up in the desert two hours east of Los Angeles are a major championship winner, several players who have multiple tour victories and Ryder Cup appearances looking for a comeback, formerly touted prospects still waiting to break through and upstart rookies hoping they don't have to wait. But no matter their backgrounds, all players are on equal footing this week as they face one of golf's most grueling tests: Six pressure-packed rounds that will provide, at least for this year, an answer to that burning question. "It's just a part of the job," said Joe Durant, a four-time tour winner who won as recently as the 2006 Funai Classic but is back at Q-school this week. "You know when you sign up for this line of work that you have to earn your way on the big tour, and if you don't, you won't be out there for long."
And golf doesn't discriminate. Its egalitarian essence has paved a path to Q-school this year for such players as Mark Brooks, the 1996 PGA Championship winner, Chris Riley, who was on the 2004 Ryder Cup team, John Huston, Durant, Notah Begay, Olin Browne and Robert Gamez. They've combined for 21 PGA Tour victories.
Peter Yoon is a contributor to ESPN.com's golf coverage.
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2008 PGA TOUR Q-SCHOOL FINALS
Harrison Frazar rode a magical 59 to become the 2008 Q-school medalist, winning by 8 shots. The "other" magic number? Nineteen under: the score needed to earn a 2009 PGA Tour card.
What: PGA Tour Q-school final stage
When: Dec. 3-8
Courses: PGA West, Nicklaus Tournament Course (par 72, 7,204 yards) and TPC Stadium Course (par 72, 7,266 yards)
Location: La Quinta, Calif.
At stake: Top 25 and ties earn 2009 PGA Tour card.
Field: 163 golfers, 6 rounds, 108 holes
Day 6• Frazar, 27 others earn Tour cards | Scores
• Sobel: Grading the 28 Q-school graduates
• Yoon: Vranesh a true Cinderella story at Q-school
Day 5• Yoon: Expect a little tightening up at Q-school
• Frazar increases lead to 5 | Scores
Day 4• Yoon: After 59, Frazar keeps it in perspective
• After 59, Frazar leads by 4 strokes
• Yoon: Slow start doesn't damper hopes for some
Day 3• Yoon: Sometimes green is good at Q-school
• Day, Nitties share PGA Q-school lead
Day 2• Yoon: For many at Q-school, it's all about status
• Nitties grabs lead after 36 holes of Q-school
Day 1• Yoon: Brooks, Han find own forms of inspiration
• Kanada part of 3-way tie for lead in Q-school
Preview• Kaddy Korner: Here's how to survive Q-school
• Yoon: Q-school a true litmus test
• 13 players to watch at PGA Tour Q-school finals
• Yoon: It's back to class for Q-school vet Tidland
LPGA Tour Q-school• Wie earns her LPGA card; Lewis wins Q-school
• Watch: Wie discusses earning her Tour card