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Thursday, September 10, 2015 Tour Playoffs Begin Today

There is no more PGA Tour Q-School, there are Tour Playoffs. And this year they added a new wrinkle.

One thing that didn't change is that the season's money winner got a Golden Ticket -- a fully-exempt PGA Tour card. That man is Patton Kizzire (pictured below), who beat everybody else by around $200k or so. You can learn more about Patton at this link.

In the meantime, let me bring you up to speed on what's about to happen, just in case you are new to this.

Patton Kizzire, leading money winner on the Tour

Instead of the previous Q-School which basically meant you played six straight rounds and good luck to you, the Tour Playoffs give you 16 rounds in the form of four tournaments. (The first one, the Hotel Fitness Championship, starts today.) Instead of just trying to shoot the six lowest rounds you can and then hoping you shot low enough, now there's a week-by-week competition with monetary awards. At the end of the four tournaments, the top winners on that money list get Tour cards.

Unlike the previous system, one bad week doesn't necessarily kill you if you play well during the other three. In many ways it's a much better indication of how players will do on the Big Tour.

In this system, the top 75 players from the Tour and numbers 126-200 from the PGA Tour -- that is, the first 75 guys to have missed the FedExCup Playoffs -- plus a few special exemptions will play in these four events. You can read that list here.

There are 50 cards up for grabs, 25 of which have already been awarded. They went to the top 25 players on the season-long Tour money list. Patton Kizzire got the best one, as already mentioned, but the other 24 guys are thrilled also. The twist this year is that those 25 players get to keep their money totals from the year, which will put them way ahead of the other players. But why not? They aren't going to lose their cards. All they're doing is jockeying for position -- that's right, the holder of card #25 can move up if he plays well!

Numbers 26-75 on the season-long Tour money list are guaranteed Tour cards, no matter what. But they and the 75 PGA Tour players will all be playing for the other 25 cards -- again, determined by being the top money winners during these Playoffs.

Then, the cards will be alternated -- that is, Patton will be #1, then the winner from the bigger group will be #2, then the next Tour card holder will be #3, then the next from the bigger group, etc. They'll alternate down to the final card. (I believe I've explained that correctly. Again, here's the Tour's explanation of how it works.)

So there you go. The final scramble for playing privileges on the PGA Tour begins today. The first round of the Hotel Fitness Championship will be on GC starting at 3pm ET. Let the games begin!

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