PGA Tour

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The PGA Tour is an organization which is headquartered in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, USA. It operates the USA's main professional golf tours. Its name is officially rendered in all caps as “PGA TOUR” by the organization itself.

The PGA TOUR can be distinguished from a number of other golf organizations. It is completely separate from the Professional Golfers Association of America (“PGA of America”), which is now primarily an association of club professionals. The PGA of America, not the PGA TOUR, runs the PGA Championship and the Senior PGA Championship and co-organizes the Ryder Cup with the PGA European Tour. The PGA TOUR does not run the women's tours in the United States, which are controlled by the independent LPGA. The governing body of golf in the United States is the United States Golf Association.


Tours operated by the PGA Tour

The PGA TOUR operates the following tours, which operate mostly in the USA with an occasional event in Canada, and one major event in the United Kingdom in each of the first two listed:

The PGA TOUR also conducts an annual Qualifying School (known colloquially as Q school), a six-round tournament held each fall; the top 30 finishers, including ties, receive privileges to play on the following year's PGA TOUR. Other upper-level finishers receive privileges on the Nationwide Tour.

The top 20 money-winners on the Nationwide Tour also receive privileges on the following year's PGA TOUR. A golfer who wins three events on that tour in a calendar year also receives PGA TOUR privileges, even if he does not finish in the top 20 on the tour's money list.

At the end of each year, the top 125 money-winners on the PGA TOUR receive exemptions from qualifying for the next year's tournaments. Winning a tour event provides a minimum two-year exemption. Winning a World Golf Championships event provides a three-year exemption. Winners of the Major Championships earn a five-year exemption.

There is no rule limiting PGA TOUR players to men only. In 2003, two women, Annika Sörenstam and Suzy Whaley, played in PGA TOUR events; in 2004 and 2005, Michelle Wie did the same. None of the three made the cut, although Wie missed only by one stroke in 2004.

The PGA TOUR places a strong emphasis on charity fundraising, usually on behalf of local charities in cities where events are staged. As of February 2005, it is in the middle of a campaign to push its all-time fundraising tally past one billion dollars.

Note also that there is a PGA European Tour, which is totally separate from either the PGA TOUR or the PGA of America; this organization runs a tour, mostly in Europe but with events throughout the world outside of North America, that is second only to the PGA TOUR in worldwide prestige. There are also number of other regional tours around the world. Click here for details.

The structure of the PGA Tour season

Outline of the season

The table below illustrates the structure of the PGA TOUR season. The events shown are for 2005, but there are only minor variations in the overall pattern from one year to the next. Tournaments sometimes change venue, and quite often change name, especially when they get a new sponsor, but the principal events have fixed and traditional places in the schedule, and this determines the rhythm of the season. The PGA TOUR's year begins with the Mercedes Championships, whose field is limited to tournament winners from the previous year. The winner receives a five-year tour exemption.

Three of the four majors take place in eight weeks between June and August. This threatens to make the last two and a half months of the season anti-climactic, as some of the very top players compete less from this point on. Interest is sustained by the following factors:

  • The race to top the money list. However, quite often this is clinched well before the end of the season.
  • The race to finish in the top 30 of the money list, so as to qualify for the lucrative and prestigious finale to the season, the Tour Championship, whose winner earns a three-year exemption.
  • The scramble of the less successful members of the tour to make the top 125, in order to retain their Tour card for the following season. Players who are on the margins of the top 125 often play every week at this time of year.
  • The last several events are known collectively as the "Fall Finish". Points are awarded for top ten places in these events and the player who accumulates most points receives additional prize money.

There are 48 events in 44 weeks, including one team event with no prize money, so there are 47 events with prize money. Most members of the tour play between 20 and 30 tournaments in the season. The geography of the tour is determined by the weather. It starts in Hawaii in January, spends most of its first two months in California and Arizona, then moves to Florida. In April it begins to drift north. The summer months are spent mainly in the Northeast and the Midwest, and in the fall the tour heads south again.

As of 2005 there is speculation that the Tour is looking to make significant changes to its schedule. These might include moving The Players Championship to May so as to have a marquee event in five consecutive months, and possibly reducing the total number of events in order to increase the number of events with top quality fields. Any such changes will not take place before 2007 and no announcement is expected before negotiations on new television deals in Fall 2005 at the earliest.


The status designations shown in the table are explained in the next subsection. The weekly numbers are those used by the Official World Golf Rankings, which apply to events on all the main men's golf tours.

2Mercedes ChampionshipsHawaiiSmall field - West Coast Swing
3Sony Open in HawaiiHawaiiRegular - West Coast Swing
4Buick InvitationalCaliforniaRegular - West Coast Swing
5Bob Hope Chrysler ClassicCaliforniaRegular - West Coast Swing
6FBR OpenArizonaRegular - West Coast Swing
7AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-AmCaliforniaRegular - West Coast Swing
8Nissan OpenCaliforniaRegular - West Coast Swing
9WGC-Accenture Match Play ChampionshipCaliforniaWorld Golf Championship - West Coast Swing
9Chrysler Classic of TusconArizonaSecondary - West Coast Swing
10Ford Championship at DoralFloridaRegular - Southern Swing
11Honda ClassicFloridaRegular - Southern Swing
12Bay Hill Invitational Presented by MastercardFloridaRegular - Southern Swing
13THE PLAYERS ChampionshipFloridaSpecial - Southern Swing
14BellSouth ClassicGeorgiaRegular - Southern Swing
15The Masters (April)GeorgiaMajor - Southern Swing
16MCI HeritageSouth CarolinaRegular
17Shell Houston OpenTexasRegular
18Zurich Classic of New OrleansLouisianaRegular
19Wachovia ChampionshipNorth CarolinaRegular
20EDS Byron Nelson ChampionshipTexasRegular
21Bank of America ColonialTexasRegular
22FedEx St. Jude ClassicTennesseeRegular
23The Memorial TournamentOhioRegular
24Booz Allen ClassicMarylandRegular
25U.S. Open (June)variesMajor
26Barclays ClassicNew York StateRegular
27Cialis Western OpenIllinoisRegular
28John Deere ClassicIllinoisRegular
29British Open (July)United KingdomMajor
29B.C. OpenNew York StateSecondary
30U.S. Bank Championship in MilwaukeeWisconsinRegular
31Buick OpenMichiganRegular
32The INTERNATIONALColoradoRegular
33PGA Championship (August)variesMajor
34WGC-NEC InvitationalOhioWorld Golf Championships
34Reno-Tahoe OpenNevadaSecondary
35Buick ChampionshipConnecticutRegular
36Deutsche Bank ChampionshipMassachusettsRegular - Fall Finish
37Bell Canadian OpenCanadaRegular - Fall Finish
3884 LUMBER ClassicPennsylvaniaRegular - Fall Finish
39The Presidents Cupvaries - not always in the U.S.Team event
39Valero Texas OpenTexasSecondary - Fall Finish
40Chrysler Classic of GreensboroNorth CarolinaRegular - Fall Finish
41WGC-American Express Championshipvaries - not always in the U.S.World Golf Championships - Fall Finish
41Southern Farm Bureau ClassicMississippiSecondary - Fall Finish
42Michelin Championship at Las VegasNevadaRegular - Fall Finish
43Funai Classic at the Walt Disney World ResortFloridaRegular - Fall Finish
44Chrysler ChampionshipFloridaRegular - Fall Finish
45THE TOUR ChampionshipGeorgiaSmall field - Fall Finish

For the latest version of the tour schedule on the PGA TOUR website, with this year's tournament dates, champions' names and links to full results, click here (

Categories of event on the PGA TOUR

  • Majors: The four leading annual events in world golf. See: Majors. The British Open is the only PGA TOUR event played outside of the United States and Canada.
  • World Golf Championships: A set of events co-sanctioned by the PGA European Tour which attract the leading golfers from all over the world, including those who are not members of the PGA TOUR. See: World Golf Championships.
  • Special: The "special" status of the Players Championship is based on the fact that it is the only event apart from the majors and the World Golf Championships which attracts entries from almost all of the World's elite golfers. Official recognition is given to its unique position in the sport by the Official World Golf Rankings, which allocate it a fixed number of points (which is 20% less than for a major), whereas the number of points allocated to "regular" events is dependent on the rankings of the players who enter each year, and is only determined once the entry list is finalized. It is increasingly referred to by the media as the "Fifth major".
  • Small field: The season starts and finishes with two elite events for fields which are about 30-strong instead of the usual 150 or so.
  • Team: A United States team of 12 elite players competes in the Ryder Cup and the Presidents Cup in alternate years. The Ryder Cup is arguably the highest profile event in golf, outranking the majors. The Presidents Cup is less well established, but is still the main event of the week when it is played. There is no prize money in these events, so they are irrelevant to the money list.
  • Regular: Routine weekly tour events. The "regular" events do vary in status, but the table does not indicate which of them are more prestigious because this is a subjective matter. The relative status of the events is not based on the size of the prize fund to a very large degree, as this doesn't vary much. Some of the other factors which determine the status of a tournament are: its position in the schedule, which influences the number of leading players that choose to enter; its age and the distinction of its past champions; the repute of the course on which it is played; any associations with "legends of golf".
  • Secondary: Events which are played in the same week as a higher status tournament and therefore have weakened fields and reduced prize money.

There are also a number of events which are recognized by the PGA TOUR, but which do not count towards the official money list. Most of these take place in off season in November and December.

Leading money winners by year

See also

External link

no:PGA-touren sv:PGA Tour


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