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PGA Tour

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 majors 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 tied up 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.


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.

Week Tournament State Status
2 Mercedes Championships Hawaii Small field - West Coast Swing
3 Sony Open in Hawaii Hawaii Regular - West Coast Swing
4 Buick Invitational California Regular - West Coast Swing
5 Bob Hope Chrysler Classic California Regular - West Coast Swing
6 FBR Open Arizona Regular - West Coast Swing
7 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am California Regular - West Coast Swing
8 Nissan Open California Regular - West Coast Swing
9 WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship California World Golf Championship - West Coast Swing
9 Chrysler Classic of Tuscon Arizona Secondary - West Coast Swing
10 Ford Championship at Doral Florida Regular - Southern Swing
11 Honda Classic Florida Regular - Southern Swing
12 Bay Hill Invitational Presented by Mastercard Florida Regular - Southern Swing
13 THE PLAYERS Championship Florida Special - Southern Swing
14 BellSouth Classic Georgia Regular - Southern Swing
15 The Masters (April) Georgia Major - Southern Swing
16 MCI Heritage South Carolina Regular
17 Shell Houston Open Texas Regular
18 Zurich Classic of New Orleans Louisiana Regular
19 Wachovia Championship North Carolina Regular
20 EDS Byron Nelson Championship Texas Regular
21 Bank of America Colonial Texas Regular
22 FedEx St. Jude Classic Tennessee Regular
23 The Memorial Tournament Ohio Regular
24 Booz Allen Classic Maryland Regular
25 U.S. Open (June) varies Major
26 Barclays Classic New York State Regular
27 Cialis Western Open Illinois Regular
28 John Deere Classic Illinois Regular
29 British Open (July) United Kingdom Major
29 B.C. Open New York State Secondary
30 U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee Wisconsin Regular
31 Buick Open Michigan Regular
32 The INTERNATIONAL Colorado Regular
33 PGA Championship (August) varies Major
34 WGC-NEC Invitational Ohio World Golf Championships
34 Reno-Tahoe Open Nevada Secondary
35 Buick Championship Connecticut Regular
36 Deutsche Bank Championship Massachusetts Regular - Fall Finish
37 Bell Canadian Open Canada Regular - Fall Finish
38 84 LUMBER Classic Pennsylvania Regular - Fall Finish
39 The Presidents Cup varies Team event
39 Valero Texas Open Texas Secondary - Fall Finish
40 Chrysler Classic of Greensboro North Carolina Regular - Fall Finish
41 WGC-American Express Championship varies - not always in U.S. World Golf Championships - Fall Finish
41 Southern Farm Bureau Classic Mississippi Secondary - Fall Finish
42 Michelin Championship at Las Vegas Nevada Regular - Fall Finish
43 Funai Classic at the Walt Disney World Resort Florida Regular - Fall Finish
44 Chrysler Championship Florida Regular - Fall Finish
45 THE TOUR Championship Georgia Small 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

Golfers with most PGA TOUR wins

External link

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