Welcome to the first of our regular live blogs from the 2008 Q School, author and journalist Ross Biddiscombe will be taking you all the way through to PGA Catalunya and the final stage.
Two of the most nail-biting events in the 2008 European golf calendar tee off this month. One of them the Ryder Cup is known throughout the world; the other the European Tour Qualifying School (better known as the Q School) is way off the radar for the vast majority of fans.
“Yes, Ill watch the Ryder Cup, but personally I find Q School equally fascinating and will be reporting on the entire 2008 European Tour Q School event this year with regular updates on www.golfmonthly.co.uk.
This isnt the first time Ive followed Q Schoolers; in fact, this summer, my book Golf On The Edge: Triumphs & Tragedies Of Q School – was published. I both laughed and cried with a whole bunch of players including Sion Bebb, Phil Golding, Andy Raitt, Euan Little, Guy Woodman, James Conteh and Martyn J Thompson. These men might be relatively unknown, but I have learned that they are courageous in a different way than the superstars of the game.
It takes a certain kind of bravery to sit the Q School exam each year (or any year, come to that) because your livelihood, your career, sometimes even your mortgage and your sanity are at stake.
Im not too proud to admit that there were tears in my eyes on the final green at the Final Stage of Q School last year when the story of my book climaxed. But I also saw tears of despair as well as ashen faces of anguish as dreams were crushed.
So despite all the attention at golfs Majors and the Ryder Cup, despite the money and prestige that they offer, in terms of the intensity of the emotions and the joy or heartbreak of a single putt, Q School can rival anything.
I want to give fans something unique this year an insight into Q School starting with First Stage at three venues (Chart Hills in Kent, Dundonald in Scotland and Fleesensee in Germany) from 9-12 September. New pros like former world No 1 amateur Danny Willett will be on the tee it is young men like him who make Q School so interesting; you are watching potential world beaters emerge.
Danny is following men like Padraig Harrington, Retief Goosen, Vijay Singh, Paul Casey, Jose Maria Olabazal, Justin Rose, Ian Woosnam, Sandy Lyle, Colin Montgomerie and many more superstars of today who have also been through European Tour Q School, some several times (Ian Poulter has been four times!).
This years Q School stories will be as fascinating as ever; just like the Ryder Cup, I think it will be another golfing journey to remember.”
Click on the link for more on Ross’ book Golf On The Edge: Triumphs & Tragedies Of Q School