The path to the PGA Tour is most often accomplished through the Web.com Tour. Formerly known as the Nationwide Tour, Buy.com Tour, Nike Tour, and Hogan Tour back in the early 90’s. The difference between the PGA Tour and Web.com Tour is the prize money. Essentially, winning on the PGA Tour you can earn close to $2 million, versus the Web.com Tour winner receiving about $100k. Only a few golfers get sponsor exemptions on the PGA Tour out of college (ex. Tiger Woods, Jordan Speith) and earn enough money in those starts to skip qualifying for the tour. However, most of us journeymen we have to qualify through the Web.com Tour Qualifying School.
After successfully qualifying through 4 stages (tournaments) to get your Web.com Tour card, you get starts into events that if you make enough money and get into the top 25 you get promoted to the PGA Tour. If you ask any PGA Tour player they will tell you it was the hardest series of tournaments they ever had to play. Most will tell you it took them anywhere from 3-8 tries to finally qualify. Well, this was my first time and it ended short as a learning experience.
I finally felt good about signing up for Web.com Q School about 3 months before the deadline. Maybe it was something I should have had on my calendar all year, but putting up $3500 to enter, then another $2500 after the first round, I wanted to make sure my game was ready. Leading up to Q school I played an Advocates Tour event in Los Angeles and played well. I ended up winning the Pro-AM with a 64, then placed T11th in tournament with scores of (70,68.)
I signed up right before the deadline for Q school because I was trying to raise the money before I had to ask my parents for it. I ended up raising about $1500 of the $3500 and got selected to go to Lincoln, NE. I've never played golf in Nebraska so I was looking forward to it, and I also have a best friend from middle school that lives in Omaha, NE. I was pretty confident I would qualify through, all things seemed to be falling in place. I got to the event and I really liked the course. It was a couple holes I wish I had played different during the practice round so I could make better decisions during the tournament, but I felt as though it should be easy.
The first day there was a two hour delay to let the course dry out some from the heavy rainfall the night before so I was off at 12pm. I got there a little earlier because I wanted to work on my wedges and not taking such steep divots out the fairways here. It is hard to control the trajectory and distance taking huge divots out these soft fairways. After day one I was sitting tied for 10th with a -1, 70. The top 37 players and ties qualify through to the next stage, so I was feeling pretty good. Maybe too good, because the next day I shot 80. Surprised me too! My last 10 competitive rounds I only shot over par one time and I thought it couldn’t get any worse than a 76. To shoot 80 and move to 54th place, deflated me. I tried to stay positive and come up with a game plan to shoot at least four under the next day, and that was being very hopeful. I ended the last day with a 73, finishing 50th and headed back home to try again next year.