The European Tour Q School
Learn the secrets of playing Golf well, this video reviews the highs and lows of the european tour Q school.
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Presented by: Golf Iniside Circle
Andy: Hi and welcome to #15 Homeofgolf.tv and today I’m joined by Ross
Biddiscombe who is the author of Golf on the Edge.
Ross: Hi Andy nice to see you.
Andy: Welcome Ross and you’ve been writing a couple of books over the last
couple of years, all folks done the Q School and the highs and the lows.
Ross: That’s right.
Andy: The first book was on the 2007 season and then last year you had a second
book out and that’s all about the follow up on that is that right?
Ross: That’s right yeah I picked up on the idea of a Q School Book. I 2006 I
have spoken to lots of golfers over the years and there’s so many stories
about qualifying school almost every professional has been through it. It’s
painful. It’s a torture chamber. They hate to go back. I never seen anything
in print about it so I figured there was a book there and I went along and I
written too. First one was called Golf on the Edge Triumph and Tragedies
at Q School.
It came out last year and focused really on the tragedies. There are so
many guys that don’t make it. There’s up to a 1,000 plays that start the
system the Q School only 30 or so get through it so that’s like a roulette
wheel, you want to put all your career on number 13 if it doesn’t come
Andy: I mean there’s 6 rounds is it that they have to play.
Ross: Well you can play 14 rounds. There’s first stage there’s a second stage,
there’s a final stage and if you start at the very first stage you will play 14
rounds to get through. The very final stage though is where the cards are
handed out as a 6 rounded event and nobody plays 6 rounds of golf in
Ross: And just the concentration levels and the battle luck, well the system
Andy: And you thought of 7 guys for 12 months to find out the pressure they go
through some youngsters are just on the scene and I guess were some had
more visions than kids where they—
Ross: Well that’s the delight of it as a writer because it’s not just about you
know the shot of the golf course, it’s about what’s happening at home you
know will my wife let me go to Q School and spend 13,000 pounds.
Andy: Exactly yeah.
Ross: Will I have to go back to the PGA and become a golf pro in a shop
somewhere. So there’s really human drama, golfer’s are just people we
forget that sometimes we think there are robots in the golf course and we
see them on TV and they play great golf but these guys it’s like you know
you are either probably was nurse or a policeman every year, somebody
said to me come back and you’re going to take a test. If you don’t pass the
test you can’t be a policeman or a nurse for the next 12 months.
That’s the pressure, there are mortgages to pay, there are mouths to feed
and these are the golfers that put their lives on the line every year at Q
Andy: And like at some they must come down to a path.
Ross: Oh absolutely, you know they dream.
Andy: The whole dream is on that light.
Ross: The dream has 8 foot putt in fact the book was almost called an 8 foot
dream because I have seen it. You in little at Scotland were here at some
time and live just down the road. He was one of my guys in the first brook
and— had an 8 foot putt for his career and of course he can’t think of that
when he’s making the putt but afterwards if he makes or if he doesn’t
make it there are tears. There are tears of joy. There are tears of absolute
Andy: And so this year you’re heading off to the Q School which is the 28th of
November down in Spain?
Ross: Yeah the final stage is the 20th of November and to start me off I wrote my
second book about the Q School which came out this summer, Q School
complete, Golf on the Edge Q School complete.
Ross: And that really is a bet and the young players coming through that was the
2008 school we have Chris Wood, Danny Willett, Kellen McKully. These
are young players who have a different kind of story; they came to Q
School using it as a spring board to be a pro.
Andy: It’s almost assuming that Chris Wood was going to make it but you don’t
know in that kind of environment.
Ross: Read the book I mean there was a moment on second stage Chris wasn’t
even at first at final stage or at second stage. There was a moment where
this guy clearly the best player in the field. He nearly didn’t make it. There
was a hole, the 10th hole. He’s 6 had been left on the previous tee by his
caddy and Chris needs a 6 iron to get on to the green he’s right on the
mark. You know a bogey there and Chris Wood would not be on tour as
we’ve seen in the field.
Andy: That’s the difference between making it and not making it.
Ross: That’s the whole deal, and everybody at Q School has that story. There’s a
moment where they might not make it. There’s a moment where they do
make it and that’s the drama, that’s the joy off these schools.
Andy: We’re checking on to the European website during the Q School. Who
should we look out for?
Ross: Well this year is interesting because it’s sort of walk cup year for the Q
School. Every 2 years that the Great Britain and Ireland Team played in
the Walker Cup in September and then go. Most of them go to Q School
and 6 went in this year including Stiggy Hodgson who everybody seem to
think was the star of the Walker Cup team this year but also there was
Wallace Booth, Gavin Dear of Scotland, Matt Haines of England, Chris
Paisley and they all played at the first stage in September.
Ross: They hopefully will get to the final stage in November. Will they all get
through? Well no, I mean it’s totally against the odds that all 6 will get
through. I would expect Stiggy as a good chance and believe me every one
of those boys will have a moment. His 8-foot putt will be the difference.
Andy: And you’re going to be there following that.
Ross: I’ll be there following it, yeah.
Andy: Well there’s going to be players, their family, kids back in home the
mortgage on the line and their come back they end on so well this year
there’s going to be some pressure there.
Ross: Yeah, there’s always going to be people you know hoping on the turf for
years and simply find themselves back on the Q School. Scott Drummond
is a good example. His win at the PGA Championship 5 years ago gave
him exemption for all the last 5 years and it ends this year.
Ross: Scott is not going to make the top 115 almost certainly unless he has a you
know really good end of the season and so after all that glory it went with
5 years ago Scott Drummond the former PGA Champion will be at Q
School. Andrew has done that he was there had people have had plays a
great careers great wins in the past but some time are the great many of
them come back into the drama that is Q School to restart their careers.
You know can they do that against all the background of previous
triumphs. It’s very difficult.
Andy: And the problem is something is not Rory come here with few events to
play a few years back here at this very event and make it look so easy
don’t they. They are just high place in one of them and that’s it you’re
through, you know you make the top.
Ross: You talk to the old lads and they’ll say no. People like I mean Lee
Westwood I have just spoken to him and his Q School story was classic.
He was a young pro who didn’t really have any. He didn’t have the kids,
didn’t have the mortgage, didn’t have the background, didn’t have the fear
and just waltz through Q School. He doesn’t even remember anything
about it hardly, you know he just did it, that was it, he was on his way he
was going to be a great player. Rory didn’t even get to final stage of Q
So there are a few that just— Nick, the same just waltz through it but you
speak to them now and you say what would happen if you went back and
the look on the face says it all. They don’t want to go back to Q School.
Andy: It’s like a driving test game.
Ross: Absolutely, the do not want to go back to this because it’s just 1
tournament. If your game is a little bit off. There will be 30 players who
will play better than you and you will not get your tour card and that’s the
Andy: And the exemption category 11 B is that allowed in to play all the
tournaments next year or any—
Ross: No, there’s still a packing order. There will be certain sweeps like the
Middle East Sweep in this start of the season and the Q School guys don’t
normally get into that, they won’t get into the major so f this league. Even
the PGA Championship is unlikely that the Q Schoolers would get the
starts, but they’ll easily get 25 maybe even 30 chances which his more of
this more in your first season to keep your card.
Andy: And I guess then the pressure is to find a sponsor to support them for the
travel. How much will it cost to play?
Ross: Well if you’re going to do a whole season, well you’ve got Q School to
start with. It’s a 13,000 pound entry. You’ve got all your accommodations.
Units throw 3 grand at the idea of getting through Q school then you’ve
got to play 25 events.
Ross: You know 2000 pound event is probably a good average. That’s 50 grand
you got to come up with a 50,000 pound loan at the bank money just to
request you know in some way find that money. It’s incredible to take to
the pressure off and again every— you know these players some time play
week to week. If I make the cut I might make some money. I’ve got
money for next week, I don’t make the cut you know the pressures of even
more. It’s incredibly difficult life. I would wish it on myself that’s for
Andy: Alright that’s a fantastic insight to the Q School, I recommend everyone to
get a copy of this book and test.
Ross: On the website.
Andy: On the website.
Andy: golfontheedge.co.uk. Thanks very much Ross. We really appreciate it. We
can go and watch some golf now. Practice day today and tomorrow we’ve
got 4 days of contestant golf around Carnoustie Kingsbarns in the old
course. Question of the day is what’s your golfing dream? You see all
these guys, all the professionals, amateurs thinking one day they can play
on the tour. What was your golfing dream is it to win them up meadow or
is it catches day just let us know? Leave a comment below or have fun
rating them and remember it’s nice to be nice.
The European Tour Q School
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