PGA TOUR UNIVERSITY
Q&A: PGA TOUR University architect Brendan von Doehren
October 08, 2020
By Staff, PGATOUR.COM
- October 08, 2020
PGATOUR.COM sat down with PGA TOUR University architect Brendan von Doehren to discuss some of the frequent questions put forth by coaches, players and fans following the launch of PGA TOUR University on June 1, and the initial Ranking on July 22.
Von Doehren is the Senior Director for Tournament and Member Affairs on the Korn Ferry Tour. Prior to his arrival at the PGA TOUR in 2015, he worked for Major League Soccer and before that, served as the assistant coach for the Pepperdine University Men’s Golf Team from 2007 through 2010. von Doehren was a member of the Men’s Golf Team at Loyola Marymount University.
Will the PGA TOUR use their own ranking system?
The PGA TOUR has partnered with the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) – administered by The R&A and USGA – and will use its methods to calculate our Ranking. The WAGR system ranks the top amateurs on the basis of average performance in eligible events on a rolling cycle over the previous 104 weeks. The Ranking list will be filtered to include those players and results meeting the PGA TOUR University eligibility criteria, meaning the WAGR point values associated with finishes will be what we use for the PGA TOUR University Ranking list.
Which events count towards the Ranking?
NCAA Division I Men’s Golf events and PGA TOUR events (including the Masters, U.S. Open and The Open Championship).
Why don’t amateur events count towards the Ranking?
People have asked why amateur events and/or starts on the Korn Ferry Tour or International Tours don’t count. In speaking with our various constituents while forming PGA TOUR University, we determined that amateur events provide at times a difficult measuring point, given the number of junior golfers and mid-amateurs who compete in the tournaments while college golf maintains consistency in player type. Our goal was to achieve a level playing field and identify the top 15 college golfers. Given the playing calendars for Korn Ferry and International Tours overlapping with most of the amateur schedule, we wanted to ensure top rising juniors and seniors in college golf were not opting out of premier amateur events in order to pursue Monday qualifiers for these Tours. Again, we don’t want to take away from any competitive level within our sport – amateur or professional.
Who are the constituents that helped approve and formulate PGA TOUR University and the Ranking?
We consulted with a number of organizations and industry leaders over three years to bring PGA TOUR University to life on June 1, 2020. These included, but weren’t limited to: The R&A, USGA, Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA), NCAA, Athlete Representation Council (ARC), golf manufacturers and the PGA TOUR – specifically the Policy Board, Player Directors and Player Advisory Council (PAC).
Will there be an opt-in or declaration date to be included in the Ranking?
There will not. All players that meet the eligibility requirements are included; however, a player will not populate into the Ranking until the start of his final year.
Will players be allowed to opt out of the Ranking if they decide to return for an extra year of eligibility?
Yes. This year, for instance, players will play the 2020 fall season and into the 2021 spring season. At a future date TBD in the spring, we will inquire if players plan to return to school for the 2021-22 season – given the extra year of eligibility afforded by the NCAA. If a player wants to return for 2021-22, we will remove him from the current Ranking prior to the 2021 NCAA Championship to avoid any confusion, allowing all other eligible players to know exactly where they stand. If a player does not know if he will return for an extra year, he will remain in the Ranking until the list is final at the conclusion of the NCAA Championship. Our goal is to ensure there is clarity in the Ranking as players push towards postseason play and vie for the top 15.
Are there a minimum number of events to be eligible, or a divisor?
Yes, there will be a minimum divisor applied to the Ranking. Currently, we have the minimum divisor set at 13 events. As we move into the 2021 spring season we will look to adjust the divisor to a suitable number taking into account a number of factors including the effects of some teams not playing in the 2020 fall season, and a mostly canceled 2020 spring season.
If a player has “locked up” his position heading into the spring, can he choose to not play and hold his place?
No, as there will be two postseason requirements included to prevent this from happening. First, a player must compete in the NCAA Regionals to be included in the Ranking (either as an individual or as part of the team component). Second, if a player either qualifies as an individual or their team qualifies for the NCAA National Championship, they must compete in the tournament. A player may not sit out the postseason – when eligible – in order to maintain his spot in the Ranking.
What if a player suffers a spring injury and is therefore not physically healthy enough to compete in postseason play?
If a player is positioned to possibly finish inside the top 15 and is injured prior to NCAA Regionals, and therefore unable to compete, we will review the injury and situation on a case-by-case basis to determine the fairest possible solution for the player and all other players included in the Ranking.
Given some players are not competing in the 2020 fall season due to their conference, does a player gain an advantage in playing more events?
No. In simple terms, the Ranking accounts for total points divided by the minimum divisor number (currently at least 13 or the number of events you play in). It still rewards those players that finish well in the events they compete in. There is not advantage for a player who happens to compete in 2020 fall events versus a player who happens to not be playing. As long as a player has satisfied the minimum divisor number than they will be on a level playing field.
The NCAA provided an optional extra year of eligibility for players due to COVID-19. How will that work within PGA TOUR University?
After the completion of the final PGA TOUR University Ranking list we will reward the top 15 players with access to the Korn Ferry Tour or our International Tours. At that time, if a player finishes outside of the top 15 and has an extra year of eligibility, they can return to school and be included in the following year’s Ranking.
Why are only Division I players eligible?
While we recognize not all PGA TOUR players come from Division I programs, as we studied the player makeup for all of our Tours, overwhelmingly most come from Division I programs. As we look to build on our current foundation, this is one area we may explore further down the road.
How weighted will the Ranking be to a Power 5 team and player?
There is no weighting for Power 5 teams and players, per se. The point values earned will be weighted through the WAGR calculation and the Power Method, which takes into account the strength of all players included in a tournament field.
Can players remain amateur for a time period after finishing in the top 15 of the Ranking?
Finishers from the final PGA TOUR University Ranking list who choose to remain amateur for the selection of the current year’s Walker Cup or World Amateur Team Championship must declare in writing to the PGA TOUR within three days following the release of the final official Ranking list and may participate in events as a non-member. Thereafter, these players may join as a member and accept any remaining performance benefits provided that they do so within 10 days following the conclusion of the Walker Cup or World Amateur Team Championship.