By Alex Myers
Brandel Chamblee. Photo by Tony Marshall
Thirty-four years after going to Q School for the first time, Brandel Chamblee is headed back. This time around, though, he's got a pretty good day job to fall back on.
The Golf Channel analyst will be in the field at TPC Scottsdale when the final stage of PGA Tour Champions Q School starts on Tuesday. Chamblee will be one of 78 golfers playing for five spots on the senior circuit in 2020.
Chamblee returned to competitive golf—or at least, made a cameo—at the 2018 Senior Open Championship at St. Andrews, his first tour-sanctioned event in more than a decade. He missed the cut at the Old Course, but qualified for the tournament again this year. Chamblee also played in four other PGA Tour Champions events in 2019 on sponsor exemptions, with a T-46 at the Ally Challenge in September being his best result.
“I’m not going out there thinking I could beat Bernhard Langer, but at the same time I’d like to see if I could,” Chamblee told Golfweek last year. “I realize that’s a foolish thing to say. It’s fun to do things that scare you, that take you out of your comfort zone. And this is just another way of getting out of my comfort zone. I don’t play golf for a living anymore. It’s fun to challenge yourself, and when you get older there are less things to do that challenge you, certainly athletically.”
While Chamblee will draw the most attention at the four-day tournament, he won't have the best golf résumé of those teeing it up at TPC Scottsdale. Three major champions (Shaun Micheel, Todd Hamilton, and Michael Campbell) will be in the field as well as eight-time European Tour winner Thongchai Jaidee and four-time PGA Tour winner and former Presidents Cupper Carlos Franco.
In 370 career starts on the PGA Tour, Chamblee won once (1998 Greater Vancouver Open), had four runner-ups, and racked up 25 top-10 finishes. An All-American at the University of Texas before turning pro, Chamblee's career-best Official World Golf Ranking was No. 58.
“I get a chuckle out of people who try to denigrate my career,” Chamblee told Golf Digest in 2018. “I was an extraordinary golfer. I say that with all humility. There are 25 million who play this game, and I was 58th in the world. I was a decent tour player. I played at the highest level for the better part of 15 years. At times I got damn close to being really good."
And with a good week at TPC Scottsdale, Chamblee will have more opportunities to add to his career accomplishments next year.