Experience at Q-school is a double-edged sword
LA QUINTA, Calif. -- Guys in Q-school for the first time aren't supposed to be leading at the midway point.
Back To School
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 PGA Tour Q-school and delve into their story of how they got here and where they are headed.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.
Veteran: Kent Jones
Career revival: Chris Tidland
Rising star: James Nitties
-- Peter Yoon
Nitties isn't exactly inexperienced at tournament golf. He won a mini-tour event in Australia two weeks ago and finished second at the 2004 Australian PGA. Over the past year, he has played all around the world on the Hooters Tour, the Australasian Tour, the European Tour and the Golden State Tour.But he also has had no full status, and he's playing for that for the first time. He made it to the second stage of Q-school twice, but never to the finals. "I regard myself as not totally inexperienced," he said. "I've played against some of the PGA Tour guys in Australian events. But it is a new experience for me. I'm just trying to do everything the same every day and not get too far ahead of myself. It's a win-win situation because I've never been on the Nationwide Tour and coming in here I knew I had some kind of status, so it's good for me either way."
Jones, who has earned his card through Q-school four times, including a tie for 11th last year, has played three steady but unspectacular rounds, and that's exactly the way he likes it. He's tied for 19th at 10-under after shooting 67-69-70."You have to pace yourself in this tournament," he said. "You have to know there's a big difference between a four-round tournament and a six-round tournament. You don't play a lot of six-round tournaments, so there's not much to prepare you for it when you do it the first time." Nitties said he's just happy to be playing any golf at this time. Four years ago, while visiting friends in Dallas, he wound up in the hospital with pain in his right hip so severe that it took two shots of morphine to calm it. "It felt like someone stuck a screwdriver in there and was turning it," Nitties said.
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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