It is hard to gauge whether it has been a successful Q-School season for Canadians. Some highly anticipated breakthroughs — Andrew Parr, Graham Delaet and Richard Scott, for example — never came. Others, like Nationwide Tour’s Chris Baryla, flamed out in the final round, leaving the Vernon, BC-born Baryla to try Monday qualifying or heading back to playing on the Canadian Tour.
Only four Canadians — Bryan DeCorso, Brad Fritsch, Ian Leggatt and Lee Curry— have made it through to the finals, essentially guaranteeing them a spot on the Nationwide Tour at the least. It’ll be interesting to see what sort of game Leggatt, a former PGA Tour winner from Cambridge, brings to the finals. He’s been lost in a world of injuries and swing changes over the past year, bouncing between sets of clubs and instructors as he attempts to forge a way forward. I would have actually expected that he was nearing the end, but maybe there’s new life — and at least another year on tour for the 42-year-old.
Of course Jon Mills is already guaranteed a spot on tour through his play on the Nationwide Tour during the regular year, and David Morland, as well as David Hearn will get another year in golf’s version of triple-A baseball. On the big tour, Mike Weir and Stephen Ames will hope to extend their late season breakthroughs.
Another Canadian (sort of) to make a break through is Alan McLean. The long hitter who is married to a Canadian and living in London, Ont., is claimed by three different countries. In the process of finalizing his Canadian citizenship, depending on what you read (and where the medium is located), McLean is either Canadian, South African or Scottish.
Either way, he caused a stir at European Tour school last week when he blasted tour officials for forcing him to go to Q-School at all. McLean, who had no playing privileges on the European Tour, but almost managed to get his card through a handful of events, including a third-place finish in Moscow. While sitting on the bubble at the end of the year, McLean simply couldn’t get into events, which lead him to lash out at European Tour officials:
“I was 111th on the order of merit with about three weeks of the season to go, but I didn’t get any invites when I was told I would,” explained McLean. “It drives you nuts sitting there watching yourself slide down the order of merit each week when there’s nothing you can do.
“I was told people who were fighting for their card would get an invite to the Portuguese Masters but it didn’t come. It makes you wonder about the Tour. You work so hard to earn a card and then get nothing. I think some of the invites are abused and you get guys who add nothing to an event. It left a sour taste in my mouth and I wasn’t going to play here this week, but we all have our ambitions in the game and I have to get back on the tour this way.”
In the end, all it cost McLean was a week’s worth of playing. After bombing at PGA Tour school, where he said his driver wasn’t working (normally his strength), he came back to London and then flew to Spain. He was solid all week at European Tour school, finishing 6th and getting a second attempt at the European Tour, which he played in 2004.
Incidentally, McLean spent the last part of the year working with Bond Head’s Bruce McCarrol.