PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – The PGA Tour qualifying tournament is nothing like it used to be except in one respect: the entry fees.
For the first time, Q-School no longer offers a player direct access to the PGA Tour. Instead, cards will be awarded only for the Web.com Tour. The entry fee, however, remains at the same level.
Players who have to go to pre-qualifying pay $2,500, and then an additional $2,700 to $3,500 (depending on how close they file to the entry deadline) if they advance. The fee for the first stage is between $4,500 and $6,000. Those exempt into the second stage pay between $4,000 and $5,000, while the final stage costs $3,500 to $4,500.
Even though the prize – a PGA Tour card – is not the same, it doesn't sound like the fees are coming down.
"Right now, we continue to have an entry fee at the same level," said Andy Pazder, the tour's chief of operations. "One of the factors in setting that is making sure only the high-caliber player enters Q-School who legitimately is competitive at a high level. In some ways, we're making a player in his mind ask himself if his game is ready to make this kind of commitment."
Another change this year is the prize money. D.H. Lee won Q-School last year and earned $50,000 (in addition to his PGA Tour card). The winner of this year's Q-School earns only $25,000.