After pandemic reset, Forme Tour players anxious to get started
May 27, 2021
By Staff, PGATOUR.COM
At the 2020 Forme Tour Qualifying Tournament in Dothan, Alabama, players quietly finished the final round on Friday, March 13—a day after officials canceled THE PLAYERS Championship due to the growing worldwide pandemic. The Qualifying Tournament at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Highland Oaks was literally the last tournament standing. COVID-19 stopped professional golf in its tracks, and those who earned status that week, and earlier, weren’t sure what the ramifications would be. Would the Tour delay the season? Cancel it?
For the PGA TOUR Canada players, the answer took a while as Tour administrators worked with government and health officials to see what was viable and, ultimately, what wasn’t. All of pro golf went on hiatus. But while the PGA TOUR, Korn Ferry Tour and PGA TOUR Latinoamerica eventually resumed play, restrictions on travel into and out of Canada left the players in limbo, the 2020 season eventually canceled. With golf in Canada a non-starter, it was definitely time for Plan B.
Amateurs Quade Cummins, who finished second in Dothan, and Garett Reband (tied for fourth) both earned status on the Tour. The college teammates, with designs on turning pro at the conclusion of the college season (it, too, was canceled), elected to return to school. They had that luxury when the NCAA extended the invitation the bonus year seniors.
Reband and Cummins, University of Oklahoma stalwarts, are ranked fourth and sixth, respectively, in the current PGA TOUR University rankings, and the duo is looking for college glory as the Sooners battle for a title at the NCAA Championship that starts later this week at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona.
The OU tandem is merely two examples. With all players facing the same dilemma, everyone scrapped their plans, reset their goals and went to work, each figuring out what was his best course of action. Korn Ferry Tour and PGA TOUR Monday qualifiers became popular options. One, Dothan medalist Cameron Young, forged a successful path for himself on the Korn Ferry Tour through Monday glory. Young validated his play last week in Kansas City when he won the AdventHealth Championship.
For all the players who emerged from the Qualifying Tournaments and all the members with status based on their 2019 play, the wait, currently sitting at 441 days, is coming to an end—thanks to the U.S.-based Forme Tour and its sponsoring company, Forme. Eight tournaments in seven states beginning in late-June, the season ending in early October, awaits them. Players can make their plans rather than doing the catch-as-catch-can tournament dance. A set schedule is in their futures.
That’s a relief to the players, who maintained that staying competitive and finding places to play amid all the delays and shutdowns associated with the coronavirus were the biggest challenges. Some elected not to play much considering the state of their games. In its place, they practiced and practiced and practiced some more.
Michael Nagy finished third at the Highland Oaks qualifier a year ago and had seemingly mapped out his summer. Instead, he played in only four tournaments that offered Official World Golf Ranking points—on the LOCALiQ Series—and cobbled together a mish-mash schedule that sent him to the Dakotas Tour and other smaller events.
With the announcement of the Forme Tour, players breathed a sigh of relief and began preparing for a full season that they anticipated would happen in 2020 but didn’t. Getting ready for the schedule that still offers 2022 Korn Ferry Tour membership to the top-five points earners at the end of the season and OWGR points, is on everybody’s mind. Nagy is no exception.
“Dothan seems like a long time ago. I am very excited to play and have been trying to prepare as best I can to be ready to compete at a high level,” he says. “This game is about seizing your opportunities, and there are eight of those (tournaments) waiting for us this summer, so I better take advantage of it.”
Justin Doeden finished 36th on the 2019 Mackenzie Tour Points List and like everybody else anticipated playing a full season in Canada. With the COVID reset, Doeden ended up competing on the LOCALiQ Series, ultimately playing some of the best golf of his pro career, capturing the Classic at The Club at Weston Hills outside Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in early October. Doeden didn’t hold back describing what his two-stroke triumph over Andreas Halvorsen meant.
“That win is No. 1 for me as far as accomplishments go,” he said, noting the strength of the fields in the LOCALiQ Series. He also admitted he didn’t play his best golf that week and still was able to get the job done.
“It is rewarding, knowing you can work your butt off, play in a tournament with a solid field and then do it and win when it matters,” he added.
The 2021 Forme Tour membership consists of the top-60 points earners from the 2019 PGA TOUR Canada season, all the qualifiers from the three 2020 Qualifying Tournaments and the qualifiers from the previously held six Qualifying Tournaments this year, among others from various categories. In 10 days, the Tour will contest its final Qualifying Tournament, outside Tacoma, Washington, at The Home Course, with additional membership spots up for grabs.
Outside of his LOCALiQ Series experience, Doeden admits he hasn’t played “a lot of competitive golf” over the last six months. He’s been practicing and playing at the Colleton River Club in Bluffton, South Carolina, the Minnesotan’s adopted home. Athens, Georgia, site of the Forme Tour’s season-opening L&J Golf Championship at Jennings Mill Country Club, is a 230-mile drive from the Palmetto State. Doeden is pointing to that week.