Golf Australia

Ewan Porter blog: sitting the Q-School test

Scott Arnold
Australia's Scott Arnold.

Each November and December, professional golfers from around the globe attempt to cash in on their lifelong dreams of obtaining the right to participate on one of the world’s major circuits.

Whether it be Japan, Europe or the luxurious perks of the star studded US PGA Tour, these avenues provide potentially bright pathways for future success.

For every superstar you see gracing the fairways on your television set, there are thousands striving to be in that same position. While Rory McIlroy was holing out on the final green at Kiawah Island on his way to a commanding 8 stroke victory in the US PGA Championship, spare a thought for those who were toiling away in virtual obscurity endeavouring to earn enough as to cover that night’s motel room.

But the beauty of the Qualifying School structure has seen dreams turn into reality for many over the past few decades. Unfortunately, from 2013, this will not be possible in the United States due to the revamping of their Qualifying Tournament to place more emphasis on the Web.Com Tour. Whether or not this decision proves successful remains to be seen, but for now, it’s time for the journeyman to make his mark.

One such player to keep a close eye on is Cronulla’s Jamie Arnold. Inheriting the golfing genes passed down from his father, Colin, Cronulla Golf Club’s head professional, Jamie has toiled away the past few seasons with moderate success on the Web.Com Tour and also the One Asia Tour. Should Jamie pass the gruelling examination the Q School possesses, it would be one of the more remarkable stories to emerge from the event’s history.

Only a little over a week ago, Arnold trudged off the final green of his 1st Stage Qualifying site in Georgia with his head between his legs ruing a three putt finish that saw him miss out on advancing to the 2nd stage by a single stroke and a single player. Devastated, he booked his flight back to Australia with the knowledge 2013 would be another battle to make ends meet throughout the Asian region and the lonely mini tours of the United States.

However, fate would have something different in store for Mr Arnold.

An unexpected call from the offices of the PGA Tour in Florida informed Jamie that one particular player who had competed at his venue with a better final result, had in fact been in breach of the rules and was promptly disqualified. The misdemeanor from said player remains unclear, but this ruling has allowed Arnold to rearrange his plans and now compete in Stage 2.

The emotional rollercoaster of the past few days Arnold has endured, highlights the fine line between success and failure in the pursuit of professional sports.

While Jamie will be attempting to make the most of his good fortune in the United States, his brother, Scott, a former World Number One amateur and current Victorian Open champion, will be chasing his dream of earning a card to play in Europe for 2013.

Following an extremely successful amateur career culminating with a win in the 2010 Australian Amateur championship, Scott has found the going a little tougher at the professional level.

Aided by high profile ISM agent Chubby Chandler in his rookie season, along with a handful of invitations to European Tour events, it was expected to be only a matter of time before Scott was competing alongside Europe’s best on a permanent basis.

As we see so often though, the road hasn’t been that easy and whilst there have been glimpses of Scott’s enormous potential (see 2012 Victorian Open victory) it’s now time for his talent to be fully utilized.

Scott and Jamie’s adventures are just two stories out of an abundance of Australian’s who will tee it up over the next month ‘chasing the dream’.
The Australasian PGA Tour has done a wonderful job over the years in allowing our players the opportunity to advance to the latter stages of overseas Qualifying Schools due to quality performances over our summer circuit.

So while the eyes of the golfing world shine on the riches and talent displayed throughout Asia and Australia over the next month, let’s wish all our players the success in which they all thoroughly deserve in their overseas campaigns.

Ewan Porter is an Australian professional golfer who most recently played on the Web.com Tour in the United States. He won twice on that Tour - the 2008 Moonah Classic and the 2010 South Georgia Classic and is a freelance columnist for GolfAustralia.org.au and has commentated for Fox Sports. His views do not necessarily represent those of Golf Australia. You can follow him on Twitter: @ewanports

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