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Thomas Dunne Books
St. Martin's Press
ISBN: 9781429974424304 Pages
In 1999, the PGA TOUR Qualifying Tournament---known to many as Q School---found itself sitting on 35 years of unique history. Q School Confidential chronicles this tournament's deep, dense story of heartbreak, black humor, back-room politics and magnificent golf under dire circumstances.
Using the 1998 PGA TOUR Qualifying School finals as his backdrop, golf writer David Gould recounts for the first time ever the history of the pro tour's annual qualifier, with revealing anecdotes about raw rookies, aging veterans and every dreamer in between. The vintage stories in the Q School's near and distant past tell of emotional and physical breakdown---and courage, as well---under pressure: Jim Carter's self-confessed "choke stories" of 1990 and 1992; Mark McCumber's recurring lost-scorecard nightmare; Peter Jacobsen's ordeal with a cheater on the Mexican border; Jim McLean's bizarre arrest on the qualifier's eve; and Mac O'Grady's violent celebration of his long-awaited Q School success. The players captured in these pages turn white with panic, vomit their breakfast, sleep in their cars, practice on interstate ranges, lose golf shoes, forget contact lenses and make fateful decisions based on faulty information.
Sifting back through several eras, Gould explains the innocent aims of the first Q Schools and uncovers the tournament's pivotal role in the momentous split-up of the PGA and the PGA TOUR. He examines the difficult question of how professional golf should go about bringing in new players and letting former players regain their privileges. In the voices of forgotten or never-known tour pros from the 1970s, he narrates the frustrating "rabbit era" that Q School helped create, and revisits the infamous "breakaway Q School" of 1968. In notes that accompany this book's exclusive year-by-year scoring records, the author picks out hidden turning points, bits of trivia and strange coincidences in the lives of tour players past and present.
These profiles and snapshots of the earliest Q School survivors and the most recent graduates, as well, are woven together in a warm, engaging and insightful narrative. Q School Confidential, sometimes bleak, sometimes triumphant, provides the first and only inside look at a cruel and unusual tournament that many consider golf's toughest test of all.
Chapter 1: Play Scratch, Feel the Itch
I could not have known it at the time, but the dramatic heart of this book began beating on the first tee of the Woodland Golf Club during opening round play of the 1973 Massachusetts Open. Banners...