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PGA Tour leadership signs off on plan to blow up Q-school, calendar season

PGA Tour leadership signs off on plan to blow up Q-school, calendar season

By Steve Elling | Senior Golf Columnist

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Ready for a golf season that starts in October?

The PGA Tour is about to embark on the biggest fundamental overhaul of both its schedule and player-development process in history.

The tour's Policy Board signed off on Tuesday morning on a plan to start the season in the fall next year, using a wraparound season similar to NCAA basketball season, that will end with the FedEx Cup finale in Atlanta in mid-September.

The tour also will detonate the five-decade-old Qualifying School process. At one point, Q-School used to be run twice a year as a pipeline to a tour card for aspiring professionals.

As part of the massive makeover, the tour's developmental Nationwide circuit will be the primary source of graduating to the major tour. Players will serve what amounts to an apprenticeship on the Nationwide and the system will be similar to the system that Major League Baseball uses with less-talented players playing in AAA before moving onto MLB.

Pundits have decried the Nationwide changes as a transparent plan to attract a new title sponsor for the tour -- this is the insurance company's last season as the tour namesake.

A source who was at the Policy Board meeting Tuesday in Orlando said that many details have yet to be ironed out, including how many points will be awarded to the current Fall Series events, which will be included in the new FedEx Cup season.

The sponsors of the Frys.Com Open, a Fall Series event, sent a terse letter to the tour that was made public earlier this week, expressing dismay at an initial proposal to award 50 percent of the FedEx Cup points that are assigned to events staged from January through September.

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem is set to discuss the makeover at approximately 1:30 p.m. ET, at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

More details will follow.

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