INDIANAPOLIS--Like all of the 152 players teeing it up at Thursday’s final stage of the Web.com Tour Qualifying Tournament in LaQuinta, Calif., Cleveland State graduate Jake Scott knows he’ll have a home next year.
After getting through the first and second stages of the Qualifying Tournament, Scott can finally breathe a sigh of relief.
“Honestly, it feels like there is more pressure at second stage because you know once you get past second stage, you have some status,” Scott said by phone from PGA West, site of the final stage of the Web.com Tour Qualifying Tournament.
The Web.com Tour, formerly known as the Nationwide Tour, is the ultimate path to the PGA Tour. Annually, the top 25 players from the tour's money list earn their PGA Tour card for the following season.
Prior to this season, the top 50 and ties at the final stage of the Qualifying Tournament earned a PGA Tour card while all other participants earned Web.com Tour status. However, the PGA Tour announced sweeping changes to the PGA Tour schedule last March and ultimately to the Qualifying Tournament.
Starting this season, there will be no PGA Tour cards given out at the six-day, 108-hole event. However, there will be 2014 Web.com Tour cards given to all participants. A player’s finish is still important, though. A higher finish means better status and more starts next season.
“It’s pretty cool. The goal from the start was to earn a Web.com Tour card. Now it feels like we’re a little home free and playing with a little less pressure and got past the tough part and now it’s about improving our position.”
The 2009 Horizon League Player of the Year, Scott was also a three-time all-league honoree and holds the Cleveland State career scoring average record of 74.1.
“I had a good group of guys I played with and I had a great coach,” Scott said. “Honestly, I was not a very good player coming into college, but over the course of four years I kept getting better because we had a lot of good guys, a lot of good coaching, and a lot of good golf courses to play.”
After graduation, Scott played on the NGA Carolina Winter Series and led the money list in 2009. The right-handed golfer went on to play the 2010 season on the eGolf Tour and in Scott's words, “bombed it.”
After realizing he wasn’t ready physically or mentally, Scott took a step back and served as an assistant golf professional at Elyria Country Club in Elyria, Ohio, while also playing in small, professional events in Ohio.
“I improved my golf game and put the time in I needed to get to the point of competing at another level.”
Scott’s perseverance and hard work paid off last November when the Strongsville, Ohio native won the PGA Assistant Championship in Port St. Lucie, Fla. in fine fashion, winning the four-round event by seven-shots.
“At that point, I kind of got the idea that I wanted to play for a living, I felt like my game had gotten to a point where I could do that again,” Scott said. “I felt like I matured a lot and was ready to play on some big tours.”
Scott ultimately decided to play golf professionally full-time and just over one year later is competing in the biggest event of his career. Scheduled to tee it up include numerous former PGA Tour and Web.com Tour players, including Todd Hamilton, winner of the 2004 Open Champion.
“I have a game plan that I’m going to stick to. These guys have their own way of playing and it has worked, but I think we can all play at the same level now so I’m excited to get the chance to play against them,” Scott said. “As much as I want to sit here and look at them and say this is so cool to play against them, I’m out here to wind up being like them and that’s the goal.”