Dramatic American uptick in European Tour Q-school participation
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Dramatic American uptick in European Tour Q-school participation

With the route to the PGA Tour crystallized, almost certainly requiring a trip through the Web.com Tour and/or the Web.com Tour Finals, more Americans are turning to the European Tour as a means of chasing their pro golf dream.

The number of Americans in European Tour Q-school this year (83) is almost as many as how many played in 2011 and '12 combined (85), reports Steve Elling in The National. Of those 83, 11 made their way to the final stage, with four among the 27 total players successfully earning European Tour status for 2014.

Not only is the new path to the PGA Tour inspiring players to blaze a different trail, but those Americans trying to do so are buoyed by the success of Peter Uihlein and Brooks Koepka, both graduates from the European Challenge Tour to the European Tour. Both are now ranked inside the top 80 in the Official World Golf Ranking.

If either can earn enough money through 2013-14 PGA Tour sponsor exemptions and entry into World Golf Championships events, Uihlein and Koepka can game the system and earn their PGA Tour status for '14-15. It might be a long, circuitous route that earns a lot of frequent flier miles, but it would be a mission accomplished with the added benefit of a world ranking head start on almost all of their peers.

John Hahn, who finished T-5 European Tour Q-school finals, said the pair were influential in his decision to see his way through the process.

“There are obviously a lot of young American guys trying to make it over here now and that is 100 per cent because of Peter Uihlein and Brooks Koepka and their success,” Hahn said to The National.

Access to high-quality events on the European Tour is one perk of giving their Q-school a try, but another is saving money. Despite PGA Tour Q-school no longer offering spots on the PGA Tour, the cost is the same at $5,500. The European Tour Q-school entry is about $2,175.

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Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for over a decade, working for NBC Sports, Golf Channel, Yahoo Sports and SB Nation. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He used to be a good golfer.

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