Almost every major sport that is played in the United States implements a draft of some sort to bring amateur players into the professional ranks. This is difficult for golf since there are no teams making picks but the PGA TOUR is experimenting with a similar concept.
The process will not be like the NFL or NBA where teams draft collegiate players and sign them to contracts. Instead, the proposed idea would allow the PGA TOUR to draft specific golfers from the collegiate level to join the main tour and the lower tours based on their accomplishments in college.
Oklahoma Sooners Blaine Hale celebrates after defeating Oregon Ducks’ Norman Xiong on the 15th hole during the final round of the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship on May 31 at Rich Harvest… Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images
While this seems like a good idea on paper, getting the best homegrown talent into the professional ranks as quickly as possible, the proposal is actually garnering a lot of criticism from current and former players.
Most of the issues that these players have are that they had to take a long, hard journey to get to the PGA TOUR level. Others say that this will not prepare college players enough to make the jump to the top tour.
Yep. In 1988, myself, @BMayfairGolf and Larry Silviera all went straight from college to the @PGATOUR. No mini-tours or secondary tour necessary to prepare us. For others, it was a GREAT thing. @GeoffShac
— Bob Estes (@BobEstesPGA) December 6, 2018
Former PGA TOUR member and current Champions Tour member Olin Browne was especially critical of the idea. The PGA TOUR used to have a pipeline from college to the Tour,” Browne tweeted out. “It was called Q-School. Kids used to be able (to) qualify directly to the PGA TOUR but someone changed it so college kids could only qualify for (the Web.com Tour). Now they’re trying to reverse that? Brilliant?? Hardly.”
As Browne mentioned, there has been a path for college players in the past that performed well in the Q-School, which is a six-round gauntlet that handed out 25 PGA TOUR cards. This gave college players the opportunity to show they were ready to enter the highest competition level and allowed others to work on their game in lower levels. Now, it seems as though some players may just be given a free pass to join without any competition.
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This is obviously a highly controversial topic for the PGA TOUR right now and because of that, I wouldn’t expect to see college players “drafted” to the big leagues in the coming years. But if the PGA TOUR can garner enough support, this could be something that takes effect sometime in the future.
— Golficity (@Golficity) December 10, 2018
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