The painful downside of Q School’s used-to-be’s

The upside of golf fandom is that you can follow your favorite players for literally decades, from the brief golden moment that they're youthful phenoms to the creaky-backed sunset of their Champions Tour years.

The downside of golf fandom is that players can't ever escape you. We all hold memories of how players used to be, or could have been, or might have been had one more putt broken just one more inch.

While Q School has at least 25 heartwarming stories every year, there's a lot more drama -- and, in most cases, pain -- further down the leaderboard. Some of the more familiar names who didn't make the cut:

Rich Beem (T120): One of the few men pre-hydrant to hold the distinction of beating Tiger Woods in a major, in this case the 2002 PGA Championship. He played 2011 on a medical exemption.

Len Mattiace (T147): He's the classic what-if: he took Mike Weir to a playoff in the 2003 Masters, but lost on the first playoff hole. Since then, he's only played in five majors, and never finished higher than T51. How would his life have been different if he'd won that one hole?

David Duval (T72): You know Duval's story: former world No. 1 fallen to the depths of the Official World Golf Rankings thanks to a bad back and other assorted woes. He's had flashes of success since then, but only flashes. Now is not one of those times.

Ty Tryon (158): The classic young gun who didn't pay off. Credit to him for continuing to push forward, though; he's still young enough to break through. One day.

Congratulations to all those who survived Q School. And congratulations too to those who failed but keep coming back, year after year.

What to Read Next