I'm always amazed by the names I read in the second stage. Recent European Ryder Cup player Oliver Fisher is among them. Add to that, there are probably a dozen past PGA TOUR winners fighting to rescue their careers this week, and that may be on the low side.
Of essentially four stages of Q School (Pre Qualification, First Stage, Second Stage and Final Stage), I would argue without much resistance that the Second Stage, beginning this week, is the most important. Here's what's on the line:
- If you make it out of the Second Stage, as logic would dictate, you earn a spot in the Finals. Every player in the Final Stage is guaranteed at worst, partial status on the Web.com Tour.
- If you can't successfully navigate the Second Stage, you get nothing. It's back to the mini tours, or for the lucky few that have some sort of Web.com Tour or PGA TOUR status from past successes, it's back to whatever limited status they have.
If you failed to earn a spot out of the Pre Qualification Stage, you never really were all that close to earning anything. If you don't make it out of First Stage it stings, but you still had a whole other hurdle to clear just to make it to the Finals. If you miss out on a PGA TOUR card by a stroke in the Final Stage, you have the Web.com Tour to fall back on. You miss out on Second Stage; you've got nightmares.
I'm glad for my friends playing this week that the Golf Channel hasn't figured out a way to televise this, but I guarantee I'd watch or record every minute if they did.
I'd encourage you to go to the PGA TOUR's page http://www.pgatour.com/qschool/# and scroll through the names in the Second Stage, as well as follow along as the scores post at round's end.
I mean it when I say, best of luck to all!