Former pro golfer recalls crazy PGA Tour Q-School stories

Golfweek/Tracy Wilcox

Former pro golfer recalls crazy PGA Tour Q-School stories

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Former pro golfer recalls crazy PGA Tour Q-School stories

As the final stage of Web.com Tour Q-School concludes Sunday, it’s a good reminder of the fact that this week used to be longer and even more pressure-packed.

Most (but maybe not all) will recall that a quick qualifying avenue to the PGA Tour used to be present in the form of PGA Tour Q-School. Quick of course is misleading, as the process was arduous.

As is the case with Web.com Tour Q-School, there were pre-qualifying, first, second and final stages to get through (although some players were exempt through one or more stages). But with PGA Tour Q-School’s final stage, PGA Tour cards (rather than Web.com Tour membership) was on the line and it was a six-round slog rather than a four-round event.

Only the top 25 players and ties earned cards, too, rather than the top 45 and ties at the final stage of Web.com Tour Q-School.

That’s not to say Web.com Tour Q-School isn’t a fascinating grind – there are plenty of future stars and interesting stories battling for a chance to make it on the circuit that can launch them to the PGA Tour – but certainly one of golf’s greatest pressure-cookers died when PGA Tour Q-School was eliminated after 2012 (it became Web.com Tour Q-School, with the four-event Web.com Tour Finals serving as qualifying for the PGA Tour).

It was a tournament almost beloved for its penchant for brutality.

“Sometimes you think (PGA Tour) qualifying school wins you instead of you winning the qualifying school,” Dave Schreyer said.

Five years after PGA Tour Q-School’s dissolution, Schreyer (and others who went through it) keep the series alive through their memories of the crazy events that unfolded.

Schreyer, 51, is now the director of golf at Huntingdon, a Division III school, but before his coaching days, he spent nearly two decades in pro golf.

The former Huntingdon player’s time on the PGA Tour was short, with only one full season in 1992 after passing through Q-School to get there, and he had three such campaigns on the Web.com Tour (1998, ’99, ’02). He never won on either circuit.

Oh, but does he remember PGA Tour Q-School … a qualifying process he attempted 17 times.

“You see some weird stuff,” Schreyer said.

That applies to him and his fellow competitors.

The night before the final round of second stage one year, Schreyer slipped in a bathroom and knocked himself out – meriting a trip to the emergency room.

Rather than withdrawing, Schreyer went straight from the emergency room to the golf course the next day and played the final round (in agony) with a concussion.

“And I missed (advancing) by a shot,” Schreyer said with a laugh.

Another year, Schreyer fell down a flight of stairs the week before final stage and landed awkwardly on his elbow. The injury forced him to abstain from doing anything with the elbow until final stage started. Not even hit a ball.

He got treatment but showed up to final stage cold turkey and missed out on a PGA Tour card by a shot.

Schreyer, whose playing career ended after numerous elbow, wrist and back surgeries, never got bounced out of first stage and reached final stage seven times.

As was often the case in Q-School, though, the greatest stories often came from watching how competitors would deal with the incredible pressure.

“I’ve played with a bunch of guys (at Q-School) that were throwing up on the 18th tee box,” Schreyer said.

But one memory sticks out.

Schreyer can’t recall the player in question, but what that man did will forever be seared into his brain.

One year at Bear Lakes Country Club in West Palm, Fla., Schreyer and his group were on the final hole of final stage.

As Schreyer’s playing competitor looked like he was about to hit his tee shot, that’s when something extraordinary happened.

“He stood on the tee box and he got ready to hit and he was right on the bubble whether he was going to make it or not,” Schreyer said. “Then he backed off and he sang the (U.S.) national anthem.”

No, the man did not mutter it. The intensity of Q-School pressure led him to belt it out, the whole thing, as a possible relaxer.

It had Schreyer wondering, Did that just happen?

“He sang the whole national anthem right there on the tee box, stepped up, piped it right down the middle,” Schreyer said with a laugh. “Probably the funniest thing I ever saw in my life.”

Yes, PGA Tour Q-School is gone. But for those who went through it, the stories will allow the legend of that Q-School process to live on a long time.

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