Silver lining to missed chance for Kiwi pair

Last updated 11:32 05/12/2012
Danny Lee
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PLUS SIDE: Danny Lee should have little trouble re-qualifying for the US PGA Tour with the new rules.

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As Danny Lee and Tim Wilkinson contemplate the harsh reality of life on the second-tier Tour in 2013, with prize purses about 10 per cent of the size as those on the PGA Tour, they'll be thankful for at least one thing.

A radical overhaul of the PGA Tour qualifying process for 2014 means there are twice as many full tour cards - 50 as opposed to 25 - available to Tour players next year.

Qualifying school will no longer provide a direct pathway to the PGA Tour, instead it will be for the Tour only.

From next year, the 25 PGA Tour cards that were previously handed out after q-school will instead be up for grabs on the Tour.

As was the case this year, the top 25 players on the Tour will gain PGA Tour status, with the remaining 25 cards to be decided in a three-tournament series running concurrently with the FedEx Cup playoffs on the PGA Tour.

The series will feature players ranked 1 through 75 on the Tour, those who finished between 126th and 200th on the PGA Tour, and non-members who meet certain eligibility standards.

The top 25 players from that series will gain the remaining 25 cards for 2014.

Essentially, that gives the likes of Lee and Wilkinson two bites at the cherry next year, as one of the top 25 players on the Tour across the course of the season or as one of top 25 players (not including the 25 who have already secured cards) across the three-event playoff series.

Former Kiwi professional Craig Perks said last month that he believed Lee, 22, should forget about the odd start in Europe or Asia next year and put all his focus in the Tour and try to get straight back to the top tier, having lost his card after a disappointing rookie season in 2012.

Lee, who won on the European Tour in 2009 as a 19-year-old amateur, gained his card this year by finishing sixth on the second-tier tour last year and Perks had no doubt the former US Amateur champion had the ability to finish No 1 on the Tour.

Lee finished one shot shy of regaining a card for 2013 at the final Q-school event this week.

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