How can we even comprehend what the players go through at Q School?
The longest week on the European Tour gets underway on Saturday. Six rounds of anything and everything and, at the end of it, hopefully a place on the 2019 European Tour. We look forward to a tournament that throws up some of the best and often the most gruelling stories of the year and I’m joined in this week’s Fourball by Steve Carroll, Alex Perry and James Savage…
I’m not interested in how you think you’d score over six rounds but how would you cope mentally and physically with six rounds of medals and your future on the line?
Steve: I wouldn’t. I can go through the whole gamut of emotions in one four-hour round so I can’t imagine the pressures – with a livelihood on the line – of having to do that over six days. I think it would actually be worse when I wasn’t on the golf course. I’d be thinking about it all the time. In that environment, I’m not sure there would be any escape. Physically, I’d have to pack a suitcase full of Compeed.
Alex: Given that most nights I spend several minutes trying to psych myself up to leave the sofa and go to bed I doubt I could find the mental and physical strength required to cope with six rounds of Q School.
James: I can’t think of anything worse than pouring your heart and soul into six rounds only to miss out on a card by one shot. But the good thing about Q-School is you can’t fluke it – only the best make it through.
My verdict: What a bunch of sorry individuals we all are. The chance to play golf six straight days in the sunshine, plus two practice rounds and the perfect excuse to play like a clown?
You’re right, it would be horrific. And there’s loads of water there..
In a very different world you are stood on the 108th hole and you need a par to get your card – what shot do you NOT want to hit under any circumstance?
James: I don’t want a tee shot with out of bounds in play – left or right. I feel I’ve always got a massive left and right miss in the locker. The absolute ideal is loads of room, possibly an adjacent fairway, down the right so I can aim massively to the right and play for the massive pull left.
Steve: Any approach above about an 8-iron. I have a snap hook in the locker when the pressure’s on and the longer the club the more pronounced it gets. Add a bit of water into that mix and it’s a snowman waiting to happen.
Alex: I don’t have to be stood on the 108th hole needing par to earn my tour card for me to not want a short chip over a bunker to a front pin, thanks.
My verdict: Again, why are we all so weak-minded? You’ve done the hard bit, it’s now time to put the cherry on the cake.
You’re right, it would be horrific. Mine would be a 5-iron as I never hit the green with this club and that would then mean a chip and that might mean anything. I’m sweating thinking about it now.
Which players will you have asterisked on the leaderboard in the hope of getting their European Tour card?
Alex: As a half Devonian, half Cornishman, I’ll be splitting my loyalties between Devonian James Ruth and Cornishman Rhys Enoch. The European Tour has missed a proper West Country accent since John E Morgan hung up his sticks.
James: Hillsborough’s finest Joe Dean, who is in red-hot form heading to Lumine. I’ll also be rooting for the other Yorkies, especially Nick McCarthy and Jigger Thompson. If those three made it through it would make someone I know well very happy (he’s the brother of one and manages the other two).
Steve: Living in the White Rose county, I’ve got a soft spot for all the Yorkshire lads. I’d love to see Simon Dyson return to form. I live in York and, for a while at the start of this decade, he was a genuine sporting superstar in a city which doesn’t have many. Otherwise, Chris Lloyd has been through so much with injury in the last few years that it would be great to see him get his European Tour card once again.
My verdict: I’m all over the Yorkshire Massive, particularly McCarthy and Ricardo Finch, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I’ll be spending pretty much all of Saturday-Thursday’s waking hours following the progress of James Heath.
NCG’s Mark Townsend and Steve Carroll will be in Spain to cover Q School next week. Keep an eye on everything you need to know from Lumine here.