It doesn’t happen often, but from time to time there comes a young golfer with enough talent to compete with the best in the world. Unfortunately for those under the age of 18, they are unable to obtain a PGA Tour card, regardless of whether or not they meet all of the other qualification requirements.
That is the case right now for 17 year old South Korean si Woo Kim, who had an impressive showing during the final stage of Q-School and ended up finishing in 20th place. If he were over the age of 18, that performance would have been good enough to earn him his tour card for the 2013 season. As it stands now, he will not be eligible to earn his card until June 28th, when he turns 18. That is well past the halfway point of the PGA season.
I understand the stance of the PGA in this scenario, but that doesn’t mean I agree with it. This kid proved his mettle by going through an incredible test, which he ended up passing with flying colors. He did everything the correct way, but he still has to wait until he is of legal age in order to capitalize on his accomplishment.
If the PGA Tour is going to allow individuals who are under the age of 18 to participate in Q-School, they should allow those that actually qualify to begin to participate immediately. Otherwise, restrict the qualification process to those over the age of 18.
The whole situation seems convoluted and contradictory. You let this kid participate and tell him exactly what he has to do in order to qualify as a member of the PGA Tour. When he actually fulfills all of those requirements, he is told “hey, we were just kidding, you have to wait until you’re 18”.
With the recent influx of young talent into professional golf, I am confident this is a rule that is going to change in the not-too-distant future. Hopefully for si Woo Kim, the change comes sooner than later. Either way, nobody can take this accomplishment away from him, no matter when he is able to start on the PGA Tour.
To take a line from the Bad News Bears: “Let them play”.