Congrats to Michael Putnam and Justin Hicks, Nationwide Tour Top 25 grads that sucked it up and endured the Q-School grind.
They had nothing to lose and something to gain: They improved their status going into the 2011 season by finishing among the 29 players who earned their Tour card. As a result, they can expect to get into a few more early-season events on the West Coast based on their priority number for tournament eligibility before the first re-shuffle.
Because they had already earned fully-exempt status, Putnam and Hicks didn’t count toward the 25 card-earners. As a result, Billy Horschel (he already had status through a major medical extension), Scott Gordon and Will Strickler snagged cards.
Thinking out loud here, seems to me the PGA Tour has things backwards. If two Nationwide Tour grads improve their status at Q-School, shouldn’t the benefactors of this largess be the next two (who don’t make it through Q-School) on the Nationwide Tour money list rather than the Q-School contenders? After all, shouldn’t the reward go to the players who slogged it out for an entire year and came oh-so-close, rather than a six-day wonder?
The Nationwide Tour is supposedly the breeding ground for the stars of tomorrow. I wish Gordon and Strickler luck as Tour rookies, but history suggests that they may be better served getting a year of seasoning. Nationwide Tour grads have a better track record of sticking than Q-School grads. This is something for Tour administrators to consider going forward.