Regular watchers of PGA golf tournaments will know that there seems to be a large number of players that rotate in and out of tournaments.
Some of the more successful players only partake in a few high-profile tournaments allowing for more professionals to participate on the PGA Tour.
Earning your way onto the PGA Tour is extremely taxing and competitive. Out of an approximate 80 million golfers globally only the elite 175 plus exemptions qualify for the PGA Tour.
This begs the question of how many golfers are on the PGA Tour.
Requirements for a Tour Card
To start with we need to look at what is required to qualify for a PGA card.
You can earn a PGA Tour card through a few channels as put out below.
- Win three Korn Ferry Tour tournaments in a season.
- Winning a PGA Tour event provides a tour card for a minimum of two years. Each additional win adds another year to the card up to a maximum of five years.
- Ranking in the top 125 golfers in the FedEx Cup standings at the end of the season wins you a PGA Tour Card
- Finishing in the top 50 players of the Korn Ferry Tour playoffs entitles you to a PGA Tour Card
- Up to 2013, you could qualify for a PGA Tour Card through the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament but this was changed and you can now only qualify for the Korn Ferry tour through the qualifying tournament.
Benefits of a Tour Card
Now that you have qualified for the PGA Tour card, what benefits will you receive?
Your PGA Tour Card will enable you to enter into PGA Tour events. It does not automatically provide entry as the field is limited depending on the tournament.
Your ranking determines which PGA Tour you qualify for. Most PGA Tour events have a qualifying tournament preceding the official start of the tournament thus enabling fringe players to earn their way into more tournaments.
In addition to the abovementioned conditions, sponsors can select players that they want to add to the tournament offering them sponsor’s exemption.
Furthermore, this opens up your path to sign up with sponsors for endorsements and advertising contracts.
Entering into PGA Tour events puts you in line to win life-changing purses and accumulate enough points to retain your card.
PGA Tour History
According to the official PGA Tour History the first professional tournament was played in 1899 at the inaugural Western Open played at Glenview, Illinois.
In 1916 a group of golfers came together to form the PGA of America
Hershey Chocolate Company became the first corporate sponsor on PGA TOUR with Hershey Open in 1933.
The Inaugural Qualifying Tournament was held at PGA National Golf Club in Palm Beach Gardens in 1965.
Do Professional Players Pay Fees to Play on the PGA Tour?
Top-ranked golfers that qualify directly for a tournament only pay for their locker room fees of approximately $50 locker per tournament.
Entry fees for qualifying events are around $400 per tournament.
Determining the exact number of golfers exempt from playing in PGA Tour events is difficult to pin down.
We know that the top 125 golfers in the previous season’s FedEx Cup standings, the top 50 in the Korn Ferry Tour playoffs, winners in previous seasons, and sponsor invitees qualify to play in tournaments sanctioned by the PGA.
Gofers ending in positions 126 to 200 in the FedEx Cup standings qualify to play on the Korn Ferry Tour and earn their way back into the main PGA Tour.
For a full list of PGA Tour professionals, past and present, look at the list of all-time PGA Tour players.
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Nick Lomas is the founder of GolfSpan, an avid golfer, not quite a pro but has over 15-years of experience playing and coaching golfers from all over the world. His mission is to bring the golfing community a better experience then it comes to choosing the right golf gear, and finding the right set up for your game.