The song goes something like, “Dear Mom and Dad please send money, I'm so broke that it ain't funny; well I don’t need much just enough to get me through. Please don’t worry cause I'm alright, see I'm playing here at the bar tonight well in this town I'm going to make our dreams come true.”
It happens in all sports and it happens to everyone. A day comes when someone tells you to go home because you’re not good enough. That message is especially hard to hear when you’ve been an elite player your entire life.
There are players who refuse to accept that message, and some succeed in proving the judges wrong, but most don’t.
At this year’s Q-School, there are 14 players 30 years or older among the 27 players that earned their card. Some, like Marco Dawson, Bob Estes and Jeff Maggert are simply trying to make a living and hang on for the Champions Tour, and they’ve earned that right. Others like Stephen Gangluff, Greg Owen, Nathan Green and Edward Loar are fighting for the right to hang on to their dreams. Each year they are one more year older, and each year it becomes more difficult, but in 2011 their critics were wrong; they are good enough. They have their PGA Card and right now I’m sure all the hard work seems worth it.
I’ve never been an elite player, but even if I was, I’m not sure I could take the rejection and the heart break year after year and keep trying to earn a PGA Card. How many times did someone suggest that it may be time to try something else, and what does it take to say no, I can do this? I can’t imagine the tenacity it takes to make that decision.
Here is a list of the guys that had their dream com true in 2011. They’re about to find out if living their dream is even harder:
Brendon Todd found his game after losing it badly last year, where he missed 13 cuts in as many Nationwide Tour starts. At q-school, he was the only player to shoot under par all six rounds.
Stephen Gangluff made just nine cuts with his best finish a tie for ninth in Utah. He was spurred on at q-school by a third-round 64 and a fifth-round 67.
Bobby Gates finished less than $2,000 outside the 125th spot on the PGA Tour money list in 2011, locked up his card again with an impressive performance at q-school, where he shot a final-round 66 to finish T3.
Seung-yul Noh has two Asian Tour victories in just 40 starts. He was the leading money winner a year ago and currently ranks 32nd after making just seven starts.
Tommy Biershenk will be on the Tour for the first time in 2011. He spent this past season on the Nationwide Tour, where he had two top-10s in 25 starts.
Vaughn Taylor is returning to the Tour following a disappointing year in which he had just two top-25s and missed 10 of 27 cuts.
Jarrod Lyle had just one top-10 on Tour in 2011 but his three weeks of prep at home in windy Australia paid off at q-school, where three of his last four rounds were in the 60s.
Bob Estes had only a dozen starts on the Tour in 2011, but he nearly won The Greenbrier Classic, where he lost in a playoff. At q-school, Estes closed 69-67.
Brian Harman spent the last two years on the EGolf Professional Tour, where he had a combined 15 top-10s the last two years, including 11 in 2010.
Marco Dawson has played in the final stage of Q-School 11 times. The last time Dawson was on Tour was in 2008 when he made the cut in 12 of 21 starts with two top-10s.
Sang-Moon Bae is the highest ranked player in the field at No. 26 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Bae led the Japan Tour money list after winning three times in 2011.
Kevin Kisner shot 69-67 the last two rounds of q-school to return to the Tour for a second straight year.
Roberto Castro has finished inside the top 25 in more than half of his starts. He finished 2011 at No. 23 on the money list but came to q-school to improve his status.
William McGirt snuck into the PGA Tour Playoffs for the FedExCup, finishing 125th in the standings, but failed to finish in the top 125 on the money list. This was the second straight year he got his Tour card via q-school.
Jeff Maggert made just six cuts in 18 starts on the Tour in 2011 but survived just his second trip through q-school final stage, mostly due to a couple of 66s in the first and fifth rounds.
Charlie Beljan spent the last four years on the Gateway Tour, where he won a total of seven times, including twice last year.
Harris English won the Nationwide Tour's Nationwide Children’s Hospital Invitational while still in schoo;, Harris heads an impressive list of Bulldogs who will be rookies on the Tour in 2012.
Patrick Sheehan is returning to the Tour for the first time since 2009. Despite just seven made cuts and $18,236 in earnings on the Nationwide Tour, Sheehan finished strong at q-school with round of 66-67.
Scott Dunlap had five missed cuts and a WD in his last six starts on the Nationwide Tour this year. At q-school, he shot five straight rounds in the 70s before a final-round 68.
Greg Owen put together four top-15 finishes. It wasn't enough to gain a Tour card but a final-round 67 Monday was.
Daniel Summerhays made just eight cuts with his best result being a tie for 11th... at PGA West. No wonder he opened with a 64.
Will Claxton will be a rookie on the PGA Tour in 2012 after nine starts and just one top-25 on the Nationwide Tour in 2011. He also played in one Tour event, finishing in a tie for 67th at the Transitions Championship.
Edward Loar made a dozen starts on the Nationwide Tour and earned just over $21,000 in 2011. A pair of 67s in the first and fifth rounds were the key for the journeyman, who will be playing the PGA Tour for the first time.
Mark Anderson was having a 2011 similar to his 2010 on the Nationwide Tour. The difference was a runner-up finish at October's Miccosukee Championship that got him into THE 25.
Alexandre Rocha missed as many cuts (11) as he made on the Tour in 2011 with just one top-25. An opening 67 at q-school ended up going a long way.
Richard H. Lee made 25 starts on the Nationwide Tour in 2011 with a runner-up in Mexico his best finish. At q-school, he birdied his final two holes to secure a card.
John Huh A third-round round 65 spurred Huh, who will be a rookie on the Tour in 2012. He also closed with rounds of 69 and 68.
Nathan Green had just two top-25s and earned only $312,109 in 26 starts on Tour. At q-school, though, he saved his best for last with a final-round of 66 to lock up a card.
Colt Knost double bogeyed his final hole thinking he missed his card in the process, but he ended up making it on the number.
Congratulations to one and all.