Any player who recently suffered through the first stage of the PGA Tour’s Qualifying Tournament would have loved to have had Matt Every’s opportunity. By making the cut this summer at the U.S. Open (where he tied for 28th and was low amateur), the University of Florida senior earned an exemption into the second stage of Q-School.
One less 72-hole grind to go through; one less chance of something going wrong.
As it stood, Every could enter PGA Tour qualifying and still remain an amateur under U.S. Golf Association rules, but it was unclear whether he would have lost his NCAA eligibility.
So Every contacted the NCAA for a clarification, citing his special circumstances and the fact that he earned the first-stage exemption by his on-course performance. After going back and forth, the NCAA finally granted Every a favorable ruling as long as he didn’t accept any prize money.
But don’t look for Every’s name in any of the second-stage starting fields. After some soul searching and several discussions with his parents and Florida coach Buddy Alexander, he decided to pass on the opportunity.
In fact, Every never sent in his entry form or the $4,000 registration fee. Had he played, he would have been the first college player to enter Q-School for the PGA Tour or the LPGA, though numerous college women have entered qualifying for the Futures Tour, which allows players to remain amateurs if they earn their cards.
“I gave it some real serious thought,” Every said. “I was about 50-50 going either way for a long time. But after talking with my parents and coach, I decided to pass so I could devote my time and energy to school and the team.”
In addition to his stellar showing at the Open, Every won one match at the U.S. Amateur and helped lead U.S. victories at the Walker Cup and Palmer Cup. He’s also making an early statement for what could be a number of college honors this season, including Player of the Year consideration and a third consecutive first team All-American selection. Every opened with a victory at the Inverness Intercollegiate and followed with a T-4 at Shoal Creek, a T-2 at the Gary Koch Invitational and a T-3 at the Carpet Capital Collegiate.
“Sure, my decision (to bypass Q-School) has a lot to do with myself and what I’d like to accomplish individually in college, but it had a great deal to do with the team, too,” Every said. “All the guys are good friends and some I’ve been here with for four years. . . . I want to be there with them and for them.
“When you come to college, your goal is to win a national championship, and I feel we have a good chance to do that this season.”