PGA Tour


PGA Tour

The PGA Tour is an organization that operates the main professional golf tours in the United States. It is headquartered in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Its name is officially rendered in all-capital letters as "PGA TOUR".

The PGA Tour became a separate entity in 1968, branching off from the PGA of America, which is now primarily an association of club professionals. Tournament players formed their own organization, the Association of Professional Golfers (APG). Later in 1968, the tournament players abolished the APG and agreed to operate as the PGA "Tournament Players Division," a fully autonomous division under the supervision of a new 10-member Tournament Policy Board. [http://www.pga.com/pgaofamerica/history/1960-1969.html] The name would officially change to the "PGA Tour" in 1975. [http://www.pga.com/pgaofamerica/history/1970-1979.html]

In 1981, the PGA Tour had a marketing dispute with the PGA of America and decided to officially change its name. Beginning in late August 1981, it became the TPA Tour, for the "Tournament Players Association." [cite web |url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B0CE7DC133BF932A0575BC0A967948260 |title= Pro Golf Tour Changes Name |accessdate=2008-06-18 |accessmonthday= |accessdaymonth= |accessyear= |author= |last= |first= |authorlink= |coauthors= |date=1981-08-31 |year= |month= |format= |work=The New York Times |publisher=The New York Times Company |pages= |language= |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote= ] The disputed issues were resolved within seven months and the tour's name was changed back to the "PGA Tour" in March 1982. [cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |author= |coauthors= |title=Tour Changes Its Name Again |url=http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=FA071EFA3D5D0C738EDDAA0894DA484D81 |format= |work=The New York Times |publisher=The New York Times Company |location= |id= |pages= |page= |date=1982-03-20 |accessdate=2008-06-17 |language= |quote= |archiveurl= |archivedate=]

Due to a multiplicity of similar names, it is worth emphasizing what the PGA Tour does and does not organize. The PGA Tour does not run any of the four major golf tournaments or the Ryder Cup. The PGA of America, not the PGA Tour, runs the PGA Championship, the Senior PGA Championship, and co-organizes the Ryder Cup with the PGA European Tour. The PGA Tour is not involved with the women's tours in the U.S.; they are controlled by the LPGA. The PGA Tour is also not the governing body for the game of golf in the United States; this, instead, is the role of the USGA, which organizes the U.S. Open. What the PGA Tour "does" organize are the remaining week-to-week events, including The Players Championship and the FedEx Cup events, as well as the biennial Presidents Cup.

Tours operated by the PGA Tour

The PGA Tour operates three tours, which are played mostly in the U.S., with occasional events in Canada and Mexico, and one major championship in the U.K. in each of the first two listed.

*PGA Tour, the top tour
*Champions Tour, for golfers age 50 and over
*Nationwide Tour, a developmental tour

The PGA Tour also conducts an annual Qualifying Tournament (known colloquially as Q-School), a six-round tournament held each fall; the top 25 finishers, including ties, receive privileges to play on the following year's PGA Tour. Remaining finishers in the top 75, plus ties, receive full privileges on the Nationwide Tour.

The top 25 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 earns a "battlefield promotion" which garners PGA Tour privileges for the remainder of the year.

At the end of each year, the top 125 money-winners on the PGA Tour receive a tour card for the following season, which gives them exemption from qualifying for most of the next year's tournaments. However at some events, known as invitationals, exemptions apply only to the previous year's top seventy players. Players who are ranked between 126-150 receive a conditional tour card, which gives them priority for places that are not taken up by players with full cards.

Winning a PGA Tour event provides a tour card for a minimum of two years, with an extra year added for each additional win with a maximum of five years. Winning a World Golf Championships event or The Tour Championship provides a three-year exemption. Winners of the major championships and The Players Championship earn a five-year exemption. Other types of exemptions include lifetime exemptions for players with twenty wins on the tour; one-time, one year exemptions for players in the top fifty on the [http://www.pgatour.com/r/stats/current/014.html career money earnings list] who are not otherwise exempt; two-time, one year exemptions for players in the top twenty-five on the career money list; and medical exemptions for players who have been injured, which give them an opportunity to regain their tour card after a period out of the tour.

Similar to other major league sports, there is no rule limiting PGA Tour players to "men only." In 2003, Annika Sörenstam and Suzy Whaley played in PGA Tour events, and Michelle Wie has done so in each year from 2004 through 2008. None of these three made the cut, although Wie missed by only one stroke in 2004.

The LPGA, like all other women's sports, is limited to female participants only.

The PGA Tour places a strong emphasis on charity fundraising, usually on behalf of local charities in cities where events are staged. With the exception of a few older events, PGA Tour rules require all Tour events to be non-profit; the Tour itself is also a non-profit company. In 2005, it started a campaign to push its all-time fundraising tally past one billion dollars ("Drive to a Billion"), and it reached that mark one week before the end of the season. However, monies raised for charities derive from the tournaments' positive revenues (if any), and not any actual monetary donation from the PGA Tour, whose purse monies and expenses are guaranteed.

There is also a PGA European Tour, which is 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 several other regional tours around the world. However, the PGA Tour, European Tour, and many of the regional tours co-sponsor the World Golf Championships. These, along with the major championships, usually count toward the official money lists of each tour as well as the Official World Golf Ranking.

Television and radio coverage

In January 2006 the PGA Tour announced a new set of television deals covering 2007 to 2012. CBS Sports will remain the main carrier of PGA Tour golf, and will increase its events from 16 to 19 per season. NBC Sports will increase its coverage from 5 to 10 events. The Golf Channel will be the Tour's cable partner on a 15-year contract, providing early round coverage of all official money events and four round coverage of a few events at the beginning and towards the end of the season. These deals do not cover the major championships as the PGA Tour does not own the rights to them. The fees involved were not mentioned in the press release, but it stated, "total prize money and other financial benefits to players will increase approximately $600 million over the term as compared to the previous six years, a 35-percent increase". [cite web|title=PGA Tour reaches television agreements|url=http://www.pgatour.com/info/company/story/9158540]

The PGA Tour is also covered extensively outside the United States. In the United Kingdom Sky Sports was the main broadcaster of the tour for a number of years up to 2006. However Setanta Sports won exclusive UK and Ireland rights for six years from 2007 for a reported cost of £103 million. The deal includes Champions Tour and the Nationwide Tour events, but like the U.S. television deals it does not include the major championships, and unlike the U.S. deal, it does not include the World Golf Championships. Setanta has set up the Setanta Golf channel to present its coverage. [ [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/newspaper/0,,176-2252447,00.html Broadcaster is seeking £200m for TV soccer] . "The Sunday Times", 1 July 2006.]

In the United States and Canada, radio coverage of the PGA Tour is available on XM Satellite Radio, on the PGA Tour Network, channel 146.

The structure of the PGA Tour season

Outline of the season

The table below illustrates the structure of the PGA Tour season.

Three of the four majors take place in eight weeks between June and August. In the past, this has threatened to make the last two and a half months of the season anti-climactic, as some of the very top players competed less from that point on. In response, the PGA Tour has introduced a new format, the FedEx Cup. From January through mid-August players compete in "regular season" events and earn FedEx Cup points, in addition to prize money. At the end of the regular season, the top 144 FedEx Cup points winners are eligible to compete in the "playoffs," four events taking place from mid-August to mid-September. The field sizes for these events are reduced from 144 to 120 to 70 and finally the traditional 30 for the Tour Championship. Additional FedEx Cup points are earned in these events. At the end of the championship, the top point winner is the season champion. To put this new system into place, the PGA Tour has made significant changes to the traditional schedule.

In 2007 The Players Championship moved to May so as to have a marquee event in five consecutive months. The Tour Championship moved to mid-September, with an international team event (Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup) following at the end of September. In 2008, the schedule was tweaked slightly. After the third FedEx Cup playoff event, the BMW Championship, the Tour will take a full week off before the international team event, which in 2008 is the Ryder Cup. The Tour Championship will take place the week after the team event.

The Tour will continue through the fall, with the focus on the scramble of the less successful players to earn enough money to retain their tour cards. A seven-tournament circuit known as the Fall Series was introduced in 2007. In its inaugural year, its events were held in seven consecutive weeks, starting the week after the Tour Championship. As was the case for the FedEx Cup playoff schedule, the 2008 Fall Series schedule was also tweaked. The first Fall Series event will be held opposite the Ryder Cup. Then, the Fall Series takes a week off for the Tour Championship before continuing with its remaining six events.

2007 saw the introduction of a tournament in Mexico, an alternate event staged the same week as the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. [ [http://www.pgatour.com/info/company/story/9163568 PGA Tour to conduct official-money event in Mexico] ] A tournament in Puerto Rico was introduced in 2008 as an alternate event staged opposite the WGC-CA Championship.

Tournaments

The 2008 regular season will feature 49 events in 45 weeks, of which 48 are official money events, including four alternate events played the same week as a higher status tournament. The 49th event is the Ryder Cup team event. 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 and spends most of its first two months in California and Arizona during what is known as the "West Coast Swing," and then moves to the American Southeast for the "Southern Swing." Each swing culminates in a significant tour event. In April, tour events begin to drift north. The summer months are spent mainly in the Northeast and the Midwest, and in the fall (autumn) the tour heads south again.

In most of the regular events on tour, the field is either 132, 144 or 156 players, depending on time of year (and available daylight hours). All players making the cut earn money for the tournament with the winner usually receiving 18% of the total purse.

In 2008, the PGA Tour Policy Board approved a change in the number of players that will continue playing to the next rounds. The cut will continue to be low 70 professionals and ties, unless that results in a weekend field size of more than 78 players. Under that circumstance, the cut would be made to the number closest to 70. Players cut from playing the weekend in this instance with a placing of 70th or better will get credit for making the cut and will earn official money and FedEx Cup points. This policy affected two of the first three events with cuts, the Sony Open in Hawaii and the Buick Invitational. In late February, the Policy Board announced a revised cut policy, effective beginning with the Honda Classic. The new policy calls for 36-hole cut to the low 70 professionals and ties and, if that cut results in more than 78 players, a second 54-hole cut to the low 70 professionals and ties. [ [http://www.pgatour.com/2008/r/02/26/cut/index.html PGA Tour Policy Board makes immediate changes to cut policy] ]

2008 schedule

The following table lists the main season events for 2008. The designations in the "Status" column are explained in the notes below the table. The numbers in parentheses after the winners' names are the number of wins they had on the tour up to and including that event.

Notes:
# Players with 2 wins in 1991: Billy Andrade, Mark Brooks, Fred Couples, Andrew Magee, Corey Pavin, Nick Price, Tom Purtzer, Ian Woosnam
# Players with 2 wins in 1983: Seve Ballesteros, Jim Colbert, Mark McCumber, Gil Morgan, Calvin Peete, Hal Sutton, Lanny Wadkins, Fuzzy Zoeller
# Players with 3 wins in 1969: Billy Casper, Raymond Floyd, Dave Hill, Jack Nicklaus

Multiple money list titles

The following players have won more than one money list title through 2007:
*8: Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods
*5: Ben Hogan, Tom Watson
*4: Arnold Palmer
*3: Sam Snead, Curtis Strange, Greg Norman
*2: Byron Nelson, Julius Boros, Billy Casper, Tom Kite, Nick Price, Vijay Singh

Player and rookie of the year awards

PGA Tour players compete for two player of the year awards. The PGA Player of the Year award dates back to 1948 and is awarded by the PGA of America. Since 1982 the winner has been selected using a points system with marks awarded for wins, money list position and scoring average. The PGA Tour Player of the Year award, also known as the Jack Nicklaus Trophy, is administered by the PGA Tour and was introduced in 1990; the recipient is selected by the tour players by ballot, although the results are not released other than to say who has won. More often than not the same player wins both awards; in fact, as seen in the table below, the PGA and PGA Tour Players of the Year have been the same every year since 1992. The Rookie of the Year award was also introduced in 1990. Players are eligible in their first season of PGA Tour membership; several of the winners had a good deal of international success before their PGA Tour rookie season, and some have been in their thirties when they won the award.

Multiple PGA Player of the Year Awards

The following players have won more than one player of the year award through 2007:
*9: Tiger Woods
*6: Tom Watson
*5: Jack Nicklaus
*4: Ben Hogan
*2: Julius Boros, Billy Casper, Arnold Palmer, Nick Price

Career money leaders

The table shows the top ten career money leaders on the PGA Tour as of September 28, 2008. Due to increases in prize funds over the years, it is dominated by current players. The figures are not the players' complete career prize money as they do not include FedEx Cup bonuses, winnings from unofficial money events, or earnings on other tours such as the European Tour. In addition, elite golfers often earn several times as much from endorsements and golf related business interests as they do from prize money.

There is a full list on the PGA Tour's website [http://www.pgatour.com/r/stats/info/?110 here] .

Notes and references

ee also

*Professional golf tours
*Golfers with most PGA Tour wins
*Most PGA Tour wins in a year
*Most wins in one PGA Tour event
*2007 in golf
*Vardon Trophy

External links

* [http://www.pgatour.com PGA Tour.com] - official site
* [http://www.pga.com PGA.com] - PGA of America - official site
* [http://www.golfworldmap.com/pgatour.html Satellite Images of all PGA Tour golf courses]


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