A Case of the Mondays
For the majority of us “9-5ers” Monday mornings can give us a sense of dread. There are a million to dos, emails, and meetings standing between us and Friday at 5pm. The only thing that keeps us going is a pay check and the 48 hours of blissful freedom that comes at the end of our week.
For professional golfers, Monday morning anxieties look a little different. These anxieties come in the form of Monday Qualifiers. All PGA sanctioned tours – PGA, European, Web.com, Latin America, China, and Canada – hold Monday Qualifiers before most events. This allows players with limited tour status or no status at all to playoff for the last 4-10 spots in the event.
By the time these guys tee it up for a Monday Qualifier they are already in the hole for at least $200-$450 for the entry fee alone. If they had to travel to the event then add another $200-$1500 for airfare, hotel, and rental car. All of this is for just a chance to be able to play in that week’s tournament. To top it off, the typical Monday Qualifier brings in between 70-400 guys all playing for just a few spots.
These Monday Qualifier “warriors” look forward to the weekend the same as you and I. But in contrast, they are hoping to be able to work on the weekend because those are the only two days that these guys get paid. All the money, travel, and hard work put in Monday through Friday is in vain if they don’t make the cut and play during the weekend.
So why do these guys play in Monday Qualifiers? It seems like a lot of work and expense for just the chance to be able to play for some money. The reason is hope. All it takes is one successful Monday to make or break a career. A top-10 in a PGA tour event will qualify you for the next event. String enough top-10s together or maybe a couple top-5s or even just one win and you have your tour card for the next year (and a big pay day!). In 2013, the PGA Tour Q-School changed to the Web.com Q-school, making Monday Qualifiers and sponsor invites the only direct route to the PGA tour. In addition to this change, Web.com status earned in Q-School was discounted to such a degree that half of the guys who earned cards would never see a start that year. Without these Monday Qualifiers, many of the guys you see on TV every Sunday would still be out grinding on the mini tours.
In 2012, Patrick Reed earned his PGA tour card but received very few tournament starts. That season, he Monday qualified into 6 of the 12 events that he played. Because of his strong finishes in the events that he Monday qualified into he was able to earn a full card for the next season. The rest is history. He won the Wyndham Championship the very next year with his caddy wife on the bag. He finished that season 54 in the FedEx Standings, something he would have never accomplished without the Monday Qualifiers.
More recently, a young man name J.T. Poston climbed his way up from a successful Monday Qualifier on the Web.com Tour to a full PGA Tour card. In 2016, Poston earned his first career Web.com Tour start via a Monday Qualifier. He finished T23 and earned a spot at the next event where he finished T3. All it took was a Monday Qualifier to get the ball rolling. He finished his season with several top-10 finishes making his way up on the money list and earning a PGA Tour card for the 2017 season.
Chris and I are packing our bags for the PGA Tour Monday Qualifier in Puerto Rico next week. Part of me can't help but to fantasize about all the what ifs that come with a Monday Qualifier. Will we be staying at Marriotts instead of Quality Inns at our next tournament? Will I get to skip that awful meeting I'm dreading next week? Waking up this Monday morning I will be filled with hope instead of dread...Wish us luck!
Let your hope keep you joyful, be patient in your troubles, and pray at all times. (Romans 12:12)