Imagine teeing it up for a PGA Tour event… even if you’re an amateur golfer. It’s 100% possible if you have a few great rounds in your game.
You must pass the Monday qualifiers to reach the highest level of golf. These are some of the most competitive events in the world and can truly change someone’s life.
Continue reading to learn how to qualify to play in a professional tournament.
Monday Qualifiers – The Step-by-Step Process
First, you might be thinking “What are PGA Monday qualifiers?”
It’s a good question. I’m sure you’ve heard announcers on TV say something like, “He shot 65 on Monday to qualify for this event.” Or, “He didn’t have any status so he had to Monday qualify just to get here.”
A Monday qualifier is how you get into a professional tournament of golf. It’s a little different process for each tour but we’ll outline them all in this article. Let’s start with the PGA Tour where the world’s best golfers compete for huge purses.
Here’s a quick overview to help you understand how to qualify for a PGA Tour event.
- Find your event → Register for pre-qualifying site → Pre-Qualifying Event (18 Holes) → Top scores get into Monday Qualifier (18 Holes) → Top players advance to the tournament.
You could sign up for a Monday site in the past and just give it your best shot. Because there is so much interest, you will need to complete pre-quaifying in order to qualify for the Monday qualifier.
I’ve competed several times to try and get to a Monday qualifier and haven’t had any luck (yet). It’s more competitive than you could imagine as you get some of the best players in the world all hoping for a shot.
You’ll get a little bit of everything in these qualifiers; amatuers like myself, mini tour professionals, teaching pros, ex-PGA players, Korn Ferry pros, and professional golfers who don’t have status anymore.
Can anyone play in a Monday qualifier.
Yes, as long as you’re willing to spend some money! In fact, a guy lost his fantasy football pool and had to play in a Monday qualifier… he ended up shooting 111 and likely has a lifetime of shame too.
But before getting into the field and typical scores, let’s dive into the first step – finding your event.
Step 1: Search for your Tournament
First things first, sadly, you can’t qualify for any PGA Tour event on the schedule. I know every golfer on the planet wants to tee it up at Augusta National in April for the Masters, but it doesn’t work like that.
Monday qualifiers are only available for a limited number of tournaments per year. These are known as “Open” events; such as the Valero Texas Open, Waste Management (WM) Open, or the Farmers Insurance Open. There are no qualifiers for events like the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am or the BMW Championship.
I am a resident of Scottsdale, Arizona and each year I try to get into the WM Open in January. It’s usually best to find a site that is local as almost all qualifiers are near the tournament site.
Step 2 – Register for Pre-Qualifying
Once you find your event, it’s time to get your credit card out and pay for the big day. You might be thinking, “How much does it cost to play in a Monday qualifier?”
It’s not cheap. It cost $250 to qualify in 2022 and the course was not $250. You have the option to choose the site, as there are usually more than one because so many players want to compete.
Eight qualifying sites are available for the WM, as it is a very popular event. There were 78 players in each of the fields at the 2022 WM Open. This meant that 624 people tried to qualify for the next qualifying event. Pre-qualifying takes places between Monday and Saturday.
You can only pick one site so make sure it’s a golf course that you love. I always choose the same course as I’m familiar with how they set it up for the event and feel it suits my game.
Step 3: Prequalifying
Once you find your pre-qualifying site, it’s a good idea to play a practice round at the venue. You can then evaluate the course conditions, and prepare for the big day. I practice my qualifying round the day before so that the course conditions are very similar to the actual qualifier.
Then, it’s time for the bid day. Go out and play 18 holes with one intention – make it to Monday. It’s hard to not play overly aggressive as you know a good score (and nearly perfect golf) is needed to advance.
The course is set up very difficult in most cases, especially if it’s a flat, easy golf course. My 2022 pre-qualifer was difficult due to the wind and pins that were very hard. It was a long day.
A pro in my group quit on hole 17 because he couldn’t stand it anymore (and didn’t want to see his total score). Six of 78 players had a WD (withdraw) next to their name that day so he wasn’t alone.
My round didn’t go as planned after making a double bogey on the first hole. I persevered and hit a perfect shot on the second hole. It was 143 yards. Sadly, it wasn’t a good omen as I didn’t make it to the Monday so my journey was over. But don’t worry, I can still take you through the rest.
These pre-qualifying events are notorious for having low scores. The weather made it difficult for me to play and 69 (-3) advanced. But other qualifying sites had 62 or 63 to advance to Monday… that’s crazy good golf.
Step 4 – Pay for Monday Qualifying Practice Round
If you’re lucky enough to advance to Monday, it’s time to register for part of the event. That’s right, the Monday isn’t included in the original $250.
Prices for the prequalifer will vary depending on the status of the person registering for Monday qualifer. Amatuer entry fees, which range from $100 to $500 per day, are lower than professional fees.
Sadly, the Monday qualifier isn’t at the actual venue and instead a course nearby.
Step 5: Make it through Monday Qualifier
The magic happens on Monday. This is where all players who have passed pre-qualifying advance onto the Monday.
There are also many amateurs, pros, and big names in the field. It is possible to be paired with anyone.
For example, you might recognize Scott Harringont, Aaron Baddeley and others from the 2022 WM Open Monday qualifier. Scores are very low in order to be eligible for the PGA Tour event. Almost always there’s a tie and golfesr play until it’s down to the number of qualifiers allowed into the event. High stakes golf is intense, each shot is intense!
You will then have Tuesday and Wednesday to practice your game and get ready for the event. Talk about a hectic week of golf!
You can follow Monday Q Info on Instagram to follow all the action throughout the season. You can follow the activity of players and root for your favorite players from far away.
Monday Qualifying for Other Tours
Participating in a PGA Tour event is difficult and intense. Here is more information about the process.
Korn Ferry Tour
KFT follows a similar process, but skips the week-long pre-qualifying and moves straight to the Monday qualifier. There are often multiple locations with several spots available for each event. However, they fill up quickly so register early as spaces tend to go quickly.
Two guys I met while I was writing this article were regular travelers and compete in Monday qualifiers of the KFT. They said that the competition was absurd and that the average score to get into the tournament is -9 to 12! As one of them said, “One bad break and you have no chance of advancing.”
Yikes! Plus, the courses aren’t always the most beautiful or well maintained. It’s a tough challenge to play on less-than-perfect golf courses, combined with high travel costs and low scores.
The PGA Tour Canada, PGA Tour Latin America and PGA Tour Canada skip pre-qualifying.
According to LPGA Tour WebsiteA local qualifier is available (no pre-qualifying). They allow local qualification for more than 15 events, and two qualifiers will advance to the tournament. The entry fees range from $200 to $250.
Qualifying for the US Open
While you can’t try to qualify for every tournament on the PGA Tour, there is one major that allows the everyday golfer to compete – the US Open. Like a normal tour stop, this is a challenging process where the odds are against you but there’s nothing like the challenge. I’ve tried four of five years (they didn’t have anything in 2020 thanks to the pandemic).
The process starts with a local qualifying round of 18 holes at a location you choose. These are often great courses, even in difficult conditions. The course I play on is 7,300 yards with tucked greens, fast greens, and firm pins. Needless to say, the conditions aren’t easy.
If you’re one of the players to advance (they usually take 3-5 spots, plus ties) and 1-2 two alternates, then you advance to sectionals. The sectionals take place in June and is a marathon day of golf – 36 holes (while walking). Each sectional site offers a few spots for players to earn a spot at one of the most prestigious events in the year.
While it’s not easy (by any means) to qualify for a PGA Tour event, it is possible thanks to local Monday qualifiers. Only 36 holes are all it takes to play on the biggest stage as a professional golfer. Only 18 holes are required for Kornfery or other PGA events.
However, excellent golf and a little luck are required. If you do wish to enter, make sure improve your game as much as possible so you’re ready for the challenge.
Remember that you can still get to the Monday if you pass the pre-qualifier. The possibilities are endless. All it takes is an epic round to play in a PGA Tour event, whether you’re an amateur or professional golfer. Just remember, if you try out as an amateur, you won’t make any money if you do make the cut (but will make plenty of memories).
Although the Korn Ferry Tour is a little more straightforward, it still requires great golf. But if you like to test your game (or don’t’ have any status on a professional tour), this is the process to get to the big stage.
Learn more about how to become a professional golfer by reading our article Full post here.