Everybody loves Q School, apparently. So why can’t we get the TV trucks down to Spain for what is generally regarded as the most gruelling week of the year?
Yes, says Mark Townsend
Last year at Q School two players greeted each other on the 1st tee of the third morning, gave each other a hug and one said to the other ‘I thought we agreed that we weren’t coming back here’.
Four days later they both got the job done, graduating with honours from the six-round torture of it all and, a year on, are both back where they started again.
Six rounds, 156 players all descending on a small corner of Spain to leave nothing out there in the hope that they can pick up one of 25 golden tickets (and ties).
There are no grandstands, players constantly stop to gather round a huge scoreboard, leaderboards on mobiles are constantly being refreshed and, for all the smiles and camaraderie, there are an awful lot of haunted looks knocking around the place. This sounds a bit contrived but it’s like nothing else for drama.
Q School is old school and it’s brilliant.
Even in among the millions FedEx Cup Play-offs nobody really knew what was going on in terms of all the permutations, here there’s a finality to the whole thing which, like matchplay, makes for great TV. You’ve had all your second chances over the course of the year, this is where you need to get it done.
A general feeling among the non-superstar players on the European Tour is that, while Sky Sports do a great job, their stories aren’t best told on TV. The same players get the coverage while others won’t get a look in.
Q School is where all of that starts. Sam Horsfield won last year’s School by a canter but we’re all pretty much none the wiser as to his skills even though he might be good enough to play in the Ryder Cup in 2020. There’s next to no golf going on in the UK so we’re reliant on what we can get televised.
We all love the big names, it’s just every now and then we’d like to hear about someone else.
Yes (as well), admits Steve Carroll
In the spirit of Alternate Shot I really want to be contrary but I just can’t. Of course Q School should be televised.
This is one of golf’s highest weeks of drama – a place where livelihoods are won and lost.
It’s not even smash, bang and wallop either. It’s six glorious days of ever-growing tension building to a magnificent climax.
Why wouldn’t I want to watch this sat on my couch with a beer in my hand?
Imagine only being able to view the FA Cup from the fourth round, or not bothering with the first week of Wimbledon. It doesn’t bear thinking about.
So why can I only follow the action via a live scoring app that is updated, well, intermittently at best.
If you want to see this drama-fuelled week play out you’ve got to get on a plane, which is exactly what I’ve done.
And when you arrive at Lumine, the first thing you realise is the scale of the thing. It really is a big deal.
There are no grandstands, yell the detractors and, yes, you are correct. But in almost every other respect, it feels like a tour stop.
There’s that big scorecard, a physio truck, there’s even a media centre, and there’s probably more spectators than you’ll find at some of the European Tour empire’s more farther-flung outposts.
There is star quality too, the likes of Marc Warren, Simon Dyson and Matteo Manassero to name just a couple, and a host of up-and-comers who could be the tour’s next big thing.
Don’t believe me? Think Tyrrell Hatton.
So why can’t I see this live? It sure beats the Shot Clock Masters.
More from Q School
NCG’s Mark Townsend and Steve Carroll are in Spain to cover Q School. Keep an eye on everything you need to know from Lumine here.