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PGA Tour makes dramatic changes to qualifying, schedule

The Nationwide Tour will soon become the primary pathway to qualify for the PGA Tour, it was announced Tuesday.

Additionally, the PGA Tour announced that it is changing the start of the season, which will go into effect in October 2013.

The dramatic changes approved by the policy board mean that qualifying school won't be used as a way to earn PGA Tour cards. Instead, all 50 membership cards will be awarded through the Nationwide Tour.

The final three events of the Nationwide Tour will combine Nationwide and PGA players to determine who earns the cards. The fields for those events -- which will be held during the FedEx Cup playoffs -- will include the top 75 players on the Nationwide Tour's money list, players ranked 126-200 on the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup points last, and non-members who meet certain eligibility standards.

The annual Qualifying Tournament (Q-school) will be used as exclusively as a pathway to the Nationwide Tour.

In regard to the schedule, the 2013-14 PGA Tour season will start in October 2013 and end in September 2014 with the Tour Championship. Fall tournaments will begin awarding FedEx Cup points in 2013.

"We are excited to announce these significant changes, as we strongly believe that they will strengthen both tours," said PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem.

Finchem added that some details still have to be finalized, such as the competition system which will determine the 50 PGA Tour cards and the level of FedEx Cup points to the PGA's fall tournaments.