Hey, GolfSMART’ers. Steve Brotherhood, European tour caddy reporting straight from the DP World Tour Championship 2022, in partnership with GolfSMART. I will be reviewing the DP World Tour Championship Qualifying and explain how it works so that players have the opportunity to come on top in 2023!
DP World Tour Championship 2022 - 2023
The DP World tour finished up the 2022 season in South Africa, Sun City, and then onto Dubai for the DP World Tour championships. However, that is only for the golfers that finished around 70 in the race to Dubai this year and have had a decent year.
Now, the golfers that have finished around 70th to 118th will be waiting to the start the 2023 season, which will be again in South Africa, which is down at golf courses like Leopard Creek, et cetera, et cetera.
DP World Tour Championship 2023 Qualifying
Now, for the golfers that didn't keep their card this year that have finished 119th or above, unfortunately, they are here in Tarragona, Spain, for the 2023 Tour School.
I've done this twice, once back in 2011 and a second time in 2018, and I have to say it's a pretty grim week. You can imagine the pressure of everyone that's here. They're fighting for their careers, they're playing privileges for next year, and there are only 25 cards. So for, all the golfers, they need to be on their top form this week. They need to play their best golf and keep their heads because the pressure is immense, and it's going to be a really tough, gruelling week to battle it out to keep their playing privileges for next year.
First day, I'm in my apartment going to the golf course in the afternoon with my player, I'm caddying for David Howell. I worked with him for eight years over my career, and we've had some really successful years.
Unfortunately, he's back here for the first time I think in about 26 years. He's not been to Tour school ever, really. He just came straight on the Tour and he's never lost his card, so it's a pretty great achievement. But obviously he's got a tough battle ahead of him this week, and I'm here to try and help him get through this year and get him onto the Tour again for next.
I'm just waiting for him to pick me up now, and then we are going to the golf course to do 9 holes; and then tomorrow, Wednesday and Thursday, we're practicing again. Two golf courses, it's at Lumine golf club, we've got the Lakes Golf Course and the Hills Golf Course, and I'll bring you some more content over the next few days, including how the course is playing, how the golfers are feeling, etc. So keep in touch, stay online, with GolfSMART, and I'll speak to you soon.
Tuesday morning in Tarragona, Spain. I'm here with David Howell and it is his first time back at Tour School in 27 seasons. So he's had an amazing career, but he's going to try and fight for his card for next season.
So how it works this week is we play over two different golf courses over the Lakes and the Hills course. It is four rounds, and then there is a cut; after the cut, it is the top 70 going to the final two days, where they'll play for 25 cards. So 156 players this week, 25 players will be victorious, keeping their card for the 2023 DP World Championship.
Day 3, just doing the practice round here at the Hills Golf Course with David Howell. Par 3’s are very strong, so if we get through the par 3’s in level this week, we'll be doing really well. It's 213 yards, as you can see, a lot of water in front of the green and a big bunker that guards the front half of it. So it's 15 yards up the green to carry that bunker.
So that's your hole today, playing 215 to the flag with a slight puff of wind into. So they just did a rescue club to the middle part of the green, which is a good shot. But as I said this week, we're just trying to find the middle of these par 3 greens, take the two putts, and get out of here with a par. And I'm pretty sure you'll gain strokes on the field if you play the par 3’s in level.
Day 4 and I'm standing on the back of the green here, and it's a fairly decent-sized green, 39 yards long. So even though the front of the flag, front of the green, is 195 to the front, the flag is right at the back here. That's another 35 on. It could be nearly a 230 shot over this water. So, as you can see, the hole is very strong on the 8th hole here at the Hills Golf course.
Thursday afternoon of qualifying school at the Lakes Golf Course, and I'm walking in the last few holes with the boss, David Howell. David has been on tour for 27 years, and this is only his second time back at Tour school. I talked to David about it:
First time back at Tour school?
David: First time back at school.
But you got the card from the school the first year out, right?
And what do you think is the difference for a normal tournament to play in this week, pressure-wise? I know you haven't done it before, but how are you feeling?
David: I'm feeling fine, yeah. It's just golf, isn't it? Listen, a very different, very different experience. No one wants to be here. Well, most people don't want to be here. Guys, of course, the guys who are just starting out on their careers are delighted to be here looking up. However, six rounds is a lot of golf, so I think stay away from high numbers is the key importance. Be patient. Hopefully, just plod along, and play nicely every day. Limit the bad round to something around par and see where we end up after six rounds.
And the Hills golf course. Which is the other one? You've never played that one until we practiced it yesterday. What's your thoughts on the courses?
David: Yeah, I thought it was very nice. Yeah, very different style of course. That one's tighter. A lot more trees up in the hills. Very pretty golf course. This one, the Lakes, obviously, hence the name. More water, slightly more open. So, yeah, two contrasting styles of golf course, but I think it makes a nice mix. Look forward to the week.
Friday morning. All prep is done, and we're ready to go. First round, the 2022 Tour school nice sunny day. Not much wind at the minute. Due to get up sort of mid-round. All the players are here, prepping to face the ultimate challenge.
It was a historic year for the boss, David Howell, who joined the DP World Tour 700 club while also surpassing Sam Torrance for number of appearances. But the feat couldn’t spur on his performances as he lost his card at the end of 2022.
The Englishman then had a crack at Q School, but missed the cut despite a final-round 69.