PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Florida - Much of the PGA Tour's schedule for next season, including the fall portion of the schedule, are still in flux, but Golfweek has learned the site of the tournament PGA Tour pros will be doing everything in their power to avoid.
The Tour's Q-School, which will offer five cards to the big leagues for the first time in more than a decade, will be held in mid-December and be hosted at Dye's Valley Course at TPC Sawgrass and nearby Sawgrass Country Club.
The latter was the home of the Players Championship from 1977-1981 until TPC Sawgrass, sister course to Dye's Valley, became the long-term home of the Tour's signature event in 1982. Sawgrass Country Club is a 27-hole layout designed by Ed Seay and regularly hosts a collegiate event, the John Hayt Invitational, and also will be familiar to former contestants of the AJGA's Junior Players, which hosted the popular junior invitational while TPC Sawgrass conducted a renovation in 2016.
Last year, Korn Ferry Tour Q-School was held at The Landings in Savannah, Georgia. For several years, the venue alternated between PGA West in Palm Desert, California, and Orange County National in Winter Garden, Florida. The latter recently was announced as the site of a LIV Golf event ahead of the Masters.
The PGA Tour hasn't made an official announcement, but Golfweek obtained a letter from Sawgrass club president Dan Cavey, dated Jan. 30, to the membership that detailed how it will serve as one of the two courses to be used.
It noted that, "The PGA Tour approached the Club to be a partner in hosting the PGA Tour Qualifying School or 'Q School.'"
The 18th hole at TPC Sawgrass Dye's Valley during the final round of the 2015 Web.com Tour Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Photo by Chris Condon/PGA Tour
It continued: "The PGA (Tour) is elevating Q-School to be a featured televised event and is very interested in holding it in Ponte Vedra Beach near their headquarters. They want to structure it as a split field with 85 players daily at our course and 85 at the Valley Course."
In recent years, the top 40 and ties at Q-School earned full status for the first 12 events on the Korn Ferry Tour, the development circuit for the PGA Tour. But beginning this year, the top five finishers and ties will earn PGA Tour status for the following season, creating a pathway for collegiate stars to go straight to the big leagues and bypass spending a year on the Korn Ferry Tour. This marks the first time since 2012 that Q-School will provide a direct path to the PGA Tour.
"I think it's a good opportunity for guys. I think it's something that you deserve. I mean, it's pretty grueling to go through Q-School, especially if you start at first stage like I did," said reigning Masters champ and PGA Tour Player of the Year Scottie Scheffler earlier this month. "It's a long few months."
"I think more opportunities for guys to get out here is better," he said. "Because you want to reward good golf wherever it is. If it's at Q-School or on the Korn Ferry or PGA Tour Canada, Latin America, wherever it is, you want to reward good golf."
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Story originally appeared on GolfWeek