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  The PGA Tour Organization  

October 2009

The PGA Tour is headquartered in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida near Jacksonville and is a non-profit organization.  It became a separate organization in 1968, breaking off from the PGA of America.  The four major golf tournaments and the Ryder Cup, are not run by the PGA Tour organization, as many believe.  There is also no involvement in the LPGA Tour.  Many are under the assumption that the PGA Tour is the governing body for the game; however, that role falls under the jurisdiction of the USGA.  Forty-three tournaments including the Presidents Cup, the FedEx Cup and The Players Championship are organized by the PGA Tour.  Tours operated by the PGA include, 1) The PGA Tour, 2) The Champions Tour, 3) the Nationwide Tour.

There are several ways a player can qualify to become a member of the PGA Tour.  There is an annual Qualifying School, which consists of 6 rounds instead of the customary 4 rounds played in PGA events.  Upon completion of the 6 rounds, the top 25 players earn the right to play on the next years PGA Tour.  The players that finished in the top 75 (including ties) can play on the Nationwide Tour.  If a Nationwide Tour player wins three nationwide events in a calendar year, they are entitled to play on the PGA Tour for the rest of the season.

Once on the PGA Tour, winning a tour event means that a player will retain their tour card for two more years.  Each additional tour victory means the addition of one more year.  Those players who win a major championship event or The Players Championship, receive a five year exemption.  A player who manages twenty tour victories receives a lifetime exemption.  If a player is in the top 50 of the career money list, there is a one year exemption for players not otherwise exempt.  There are also medical exemptions for players that have been injured.

There is strong emphasis on the part of the PGA Tour for charity fundraising.  This is done on behalf of local charities where tour events are held.  In 2005 the PGA Tour started a campaign to raise it's all time fundraising contributions to one billion dollars.  The amount was reached one week prior to the close of that season. 

The field (number of players) in tour events consists of 132, 144 or 156 players.  The "cut" (players who remain in the field after 36 holes of play) is made when a player's score places them in the top 70.  Each player who makes the cut receives part of the purse.  The winner generally garnishes 18% of the total purse in each event.

The top 5 career money leaders are (1) Tiger Woods - $92,862,539.  (2)  Vijay Singh - $61, 986, 127. (3)  Phil Mickelson - $55,855,656.  (4)  Jim Furyk - $42,571,541.  (5)  Davis Love lll - $38,845,951.

Unlike certain other sports, tour participants consider it a privilege to play on the PGA Tour.  Tour players play under a strict code of conduct set by the PGA Tour.  Spectators at tour events are some of the most well behaved fans in all of professional sports.  Perhaps that's one reason why golf is called "the gentlemen's game."

by Gary j. Zalimeni 

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