Nearly every professional golfer to a man had aspirations of going pro in a sport other than golf at some point in their life before truly dedicating themselves to the game.
Perhaps a small part of the allure of other sports is draft night — a singular event dedicated to an athlete’s ascension to reaching the big time. While professional golf has various levels of “graduation” ceremonies, the PGA Tour is currently in talks to have their own drafting protocol, according to Golfweek.com.
“The PGA Tour has been working to develop a new program that will identify, prepare and transition top collegiate golfers to professional golf,” the Tour said in a statement to Golfweek.com. “This program will be designed to reward season-long collegiate play with varying levels of playing access to tours operated under the PGA Tour umbrella, while upholding the principles and virtues of collegiate athletics.”
The “unprecedented” project will act as a player draft by various levels, guaranteeing status to collegiate players, based on their accomplishments, on professional tours ranging from the PGA Tour China all the way up to the PGA Tour.
— Ryan Lavner (@RyanLavnerGC) December 4, 2018
“We hope that this will elevate our product and our tours, but this is not just a one-sided thing. It’s well-rounded,” an anonymous Tour official said. The official’s meaning of “well-rounded” encompasses input from the Tour’s policy board, player advisory councils, various governing bodies and NCAA coaches.
A major tentpole of the project is the encouragement of players to stay in school and pursue their education before turning pro.
“If a freshman was to turn pro, are they going to be eligible for this program? Likely not,” the official said. “This is an opportunity for a lot of great change. This will hopefully change the landscape of college golf. If you look at other sports leagues, it’s a little bit different. They have draft systems where players go directly to leagues and they are identified through their play in college.
“That sort of rough thinking, you know, why doesn’t golf have that? This hopefully will be a solution to that problem.”