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The PGA TOUR - Golf's Elite

Aug 22, 2007
Headquartered in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, the PGA TOUR is the organization responsible for overseeing the professional golfers we watch on tv every Sunday. They were, until 1968, affiliated with PGA of America but broke away to form The Tournament Players Division mostly so they could have more of a say in the tournament schedule but also to better control their finances. They play over 100 tournaments a year on three seperate Tours - the PGA TOUR, the Champions Tour and the Nationwide Tour. That's a LOT of golf!

Besides providing a competitive atmosphere for its members, the PGA TOUR also generates millions in revenue for over 2000 charities around the world and in communities here in the US. Among them - Alzheimer's Foundation, Salvation Army, Teach for America and the Katrina Relief Fund to name a few.

It is the responsibility of the PGA tour to run The Players Championship, the Presidents Cup, and all the other regular events on the PGA Tour. However, it doesn't run the Ryder Cup or the first four majors (The Masters, The U.S. Open, The British Open, PGA Championship), nor does it run any of the women's tours. Some of these fall under the jurisdictions of the PGA of America, the US Golf Association and the LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association).

Back in 1981, due in part to a marketing dispute, the PGA Tour temporarily changed its name to the TPA Tour (Tournament Players Association) but by March of 1982 had resolved the issues and changed the name back to PGA TOUR. And yes, it's officially spelled PGA TOUR (all capital letters).

Thinking of joining?

To become a member of the the PGA TOUR you must finish in the top 30 at the annual Qualifying Tournament or Q-School. It is quite literally a school where the survivors of the first 3 stages advance to take classes held by the PGA TOUR to introduce the attendees to the rigors of tour life. To get to this stage, players have to qualify through stages 1 and 2 (more than 72 holes each) then on to stage 3 where they'll play another 108 holes over the course of a week, usually in early December. Entry fees back in 2004 were about $12,000, - on average about $4000 per stage. Bring your lunch!

If you're short on cash, you can also join by winning a cosponsored or approved TOUR event. In most PGA TOUR open events there is an open qualifying round conducted by the PGA Section where the event is held. The winners (four low scorers) advance to that event. This open qualifying round is usually played that Monday of tournament week and is open to all professionals and amateurs with a USGA handicap of 2 or less.

At the end of each year, the top 125 money-winners on the Tour get a tour card for the next season. This exempts the from having to qualify for most of the tournaments in the following year. Now, if you've been fortunate (and good) enough to have run the gauntlet once, these avenues open up for you.

Or win as much money during the season as the 150th finisher on the money list in the previous year. Lastly, if you finish in the top 20 on the Nationwide Tour your membership is secure. Oh, one final qualifying note - You've got to be at least 18 years old.

Swings And Cha-Chings!

We've all seen it. Winners of these tournaments bring home enough bacon to satisfy even Jabba the Hutt. The prize money seems enormous by most people's standards. $700,000 for a first place finish and even the guys bringing up the rear in 60th and 70th place are cashing $8,000 checks. Where do I sign up?
The formula for these incredible paychecks is actually pretty standard for PGA TOUR events. 18 percent of the money earned at an event is earmarked to the winner and decreases to 0.2 percent for a 70th place finish. A guy could make a living doing this!

When it comes right down to it, some of these guys are making a great living doing something we can only dream about. But therein lies their secret. They were dreaming the same thing, most of them, at a very young age. They put thousands of hours into practice, made sacrifices we would never think of and in most cases dished out lots of cash for lessons, entry fees and travel costs to be where they are today.

The PGA TOUR was formed to represent and protect these giants of the game, their dreams and their goals. Its mission is to promote the sport and the gamesmanship and ethics the game of golf represents. It's charitible donations are one more way for its players to give back to the people and its community.
About the Author
Ron Berry writes for Essay Street and operates I Scored Tickets - http://iscoredtickets.com
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