Nationwide replaced by Web.com Tour
After selling out and neutering Q School to try to satisfy its financial bottom line, the PGA Tour finally landed a new umbrella sponsor for what was formerly known at various times as the Nationwide/buy.com/Nike/Hogan Tour.
Web.com, a provider of internet services and online marketing solutions to small- and medium-sized businesses, announced on Wednesday a 10-year agreement to be the name of the PGA Tour's primary developmental circuit. It had been called the Nationwide Tour before the insurance corporation decided to end its sponsorship deal at the end of 2012.
The new Web.com Tour agreement went into effect immediately, with the tour already changing the name throughout the PGATour.com website.
From the sounds of the tour brass at Wednesday's press conference, you would think that the new sponsor has been on board forever.
"I've been at the tour now for 22 years, had the privilege to lead the Web.com Tour now for 12 years, and I can tell you, this is the most exciting time that I can remember in certainly the evolution of this tour," said Bill Calfee, the president of the Nationwide -- I mean, Web.com -- Tour.
The "exciting time" that Calfee refers to is the transition to make the PGA Tour only accessible through its minor league. The tour killed off the long-standing avenue to the big leagues of Q School, instead giving graduates of the most democratic qualifying system in all of professional sports access to only the Nationwide -- I mean, Web.com -- Tour instead. That decision destroys all of the wonderful stories that Q School has created through the years and essentially sentenced fledgling pros to at least a year of indentured servitude in the NationWeb.com (perhaps I should trademark this name) ranks.
In its place will be a three-week mini-tour where the top 75 from the NationWeb.com Tour money list and the scrubs who finished 126 through 200 on the PGA Tour money list will compete for 50 PGA Tour cards. The idea is so complicated and filled with fairness pitfalls that the PGA Tour Policy Board still hasn't figured out a way to do it.
I would include more comments on this momentous announcement from PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem and Web.com CEO David Brown except that the two were engaged in some kind of competitive talk-off that for all I know is still going on. There's is just too little time in life to read the transcript but I feel safe to assume that both men were pleased with the new deal.