For golf's less heralded players, the late part of any year can be an especially tense time.
Many will be hoping to successfully pass the playing examinations offered by the European, Asian, Japan, Australasian, Web.Com, LPGA, Ladies European, Symetra and Champions Tours in order to have a place to ply their trade next year.
Some have already failed in that regard with earlier stages of qualifying for the Web.Com, European, LPGA and Japan Tours sorting some of the wheat from the chaff as the huge numbers involved are filtered to the point where they face a final test over the next two months or so.
The European Tour’s Final Stage is well underway with the six-round marathon in Spain to be completed by early Friday morning Australian time. Ten Australians and one New Zealander are vying for one of the 2018 European Tour cards handed out to the leading 25 players.
In Japan, their Final Stage will be played over 108 holes in early December. There, interestingly, 10 Australians and one New Zealander also will attempt to earn the right to play the lucrative Japan Golf Tour, a tour that has become increasingly popular with Australasians in recent years.
Moonah Links on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula will host the Final Stage of Australasian Tour Qualifying next month.
The Web.Com Tour has reached its Final Stage to be played in Arizona in early December and with this now being the most realistic way to reach the PGA Tour, just making it to the Final Stage is a significant achievement.
Twelve venues were required for Stage One, reduced to five for Stage Two where 375 players competed for 100 places at the Final Stage where they will be joined by another 50 players exempt from earlier qualifying. Once there, they are guaranteed some level of status on the Web.Com Tour in 2018 although the higher up the list the better.
The LPGA Tour has completed its Stage Two Qualifying and only the Final Stage in early December remains where 170 players will compete for the right to play the 2018 LPGA Tour or alternatively the secondary Symetra Tour.
The Australasian Tour plays its Stage 1 Qualifying School from December 6-8 across four venues: St Andrews of Hamilton in New Zealand, Noosa Springs in Queensland, Riverside Oaks in New South Wales and Sandhurst Club in Victoria.
The Ladies European Tour’s Final Stage is in early December while the Asian Tour plays is final test in January to complete what is a real battle for the right to climb the ladder of professional golf.
The wide list of pathways highlights the cut-throat nature of elite pro golf.
That, though, is the way it should be. Just like so many other professions, there is no god-given right to a career in professional golf and those who make it certainly earn it by pure talent or determination or, most likely, a combination of both.
2018 US OPEN AT SHINNECOCK HILLS
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