A guy like Graham DeLaet of Weyburn, Sask., is a poster boy for a development circuit such as the Canadian Tour, where DeLaet had a magnificent run in 2009 and continued that through qualifying school to the PGA Tour, where he still has full-time status despite being out with an injury.
However, you won’t hear any stories such as DeLaet’s under new proposed changes to the year-end qualifying process. You also won’t hear about Dustin Johnston or J.B. Holmes jumping directly from college or other mini-tours to the PGA Tour, via Q-school.
In effect, graduations to the PGA Tour will now only come from the Nationwide Tour, while Q-school, as we know it now, will only elevate players to the Nationwide Tour. You can read about the proposed changes in this Golfweek story.
Canadian Tour commissioner Rick Janes says he was involved with the discussions before they became public earlier this week and believes a strengthened Nationwide Tour will benefit all of his circuit’s graduating players, even if direct jumps to the PGA Tour will be a thing of the past under the proposal.
“I’m not surprised that Q-school will no longer – or at least the proposal is – grant cards directly to the PGA Tour. That doesn’t surprise me. I’ve actually been expecting that for quite some time,” said Janes.
“In fact, these changes are really good for us. What it’s going to do is it’s going to elevate the Nationwide Tour. I think a lot of people don’t realize we graduate 12 players to the Nationwide Tour every year,” he added.
“There are 12 players every year going to the Nationwide Tour from our tour and they’re going to be higher profile personalities when they get out there. I think it’s going to make a much strong Nationwide Tour,” said Janes.
“It doesn’t hurt us at all. If everything falls into place, as I’m hoping it will, it’s actually very good for us,” he said.
Players such as DeLaet, Johnson and Holmes who jump directly to the PGA Tour are seen as the exception not the rule with these new changes and Janes say they will still have opportunities to advance if they excel on the Nationwide Tour.
“Of course, the players who get the opportunity to go right from the Canadian Tour or otherwise directly to the PGA Tour¸ they’re probably going to get that opportunity in another form, either battlefield promotion from the Nationwide Tour or otherwise,” he said.
“I don’t think we’re going to hold back the Rickie Fowlers and Dustin Johnsons of the world,” he added.
“I think that we will see players who continue to leave our tour and go to the Nationwide Tour and go from the Nationwide Tour to the PGA Tour quickly. It might be a year of grooming on the Nationwide Tour,” said Janes.
“I see this as a good thing for the Canadian Tour and I see it as a good thing for those players who are moving on on a regular basis.”