William K. WolfrumThis Week at TravelGolf.com: December 06, 2005

Forget lame "reality" shows, Q-schools
have all the drama a golf fan could want

If you aren't a fan of golf, there's a very good chance you've missed the fact that many of the best golfers in the world have been battling it out in the PGA and LPGA Tour qualifying tournaments. You'll see a few "Q-school" stories and maybe even glance through them, perhaps, but it's not something of any great importance.

Well, it should be.

That the final qualifying tournaments don't get the play they deserve speaks volumes about the PGA and LPGA Tours' marketing strategies. They just seem to be missing something if they don't believe the finals of Q-school don't deserve bigger play than The Golf Channel.

The LPGA Tour qualifying school ended this past weekend with Ai Miyazato brilliantly adding her name to the list of charismatic and talented young golfers on the tour, as the diminutive 20-year-old from Japan won the tournament that saw Morgan Pressel also get her card.

The men concluded action yesterday, with John Holmes, D.A. Points and Michael Allen on top, but the real excitement lies further down the leaderboard, with the players who were battling for that all-important Top-30 finish and the PGA Tour card that comes with it.

Golfers such as Larry Mize, Notah Begay III, Briny Baird and Dan Forsman were all in the hunt (each came up short), but again, the names aren't even the biggest stories, the situation is. A Top-30 finish in Q-school just changes everything for a golfer. The bush leagues are over for now, welcome to the Show.

"It's as close as you can get to being in major championship conditions," Begay told reporters. "It's like being in the NBA Finals or the World Series and being down three games to none."

Begay is dead-on with his comparison. Pressure-wise, it just doesn't get bigger than this for these folks. There may be great victories ahead but it's quite a bit harder to get the chance for those victories without your tour card. Six rounds of pressure for inclusion into the club of the world's most elite golfers.

While it appears that the LPGA and PGA Tours are working overtime to promote their stars, they need look only to their qualifying tournaments to find golfers who will really connect with an audience.

The final qualifying tournaments need to be promoted for what they are: part reality show and part major golf tournament. Viewers can connect with these golfers, who have so much to gain and/or lose. Most importantly, it's a fantastic tournament with the results having serious importance. It deserves more than being just another silly-season event.

As always, TravelGolf.com welcomes your comments.



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