What Is a PGA Tour Card?
In the world of professional golf, a PGA Tour card is the ultimate goal for aspiring golfers. It represents a ticket to compete on the prestigious PGA Tour, the highest level of professional golf in the United States. Obtaining a PGA Tour card is a significant milestone and a testament to a golfer’s skill, dedication, and hard work.
A PGA Tour card allows a golfer to compete in PGA Tour events for a full season, which typically runs from October to September the following year. The card grants entry into tournaments that offer substantial prize money and ranking points, providing players with the opportunity to showcase their talent and potentially secure sponsorship deals.
The PGA Tour card is awarded through a series of qualifying tournaments and performance-based criteria. Here’s a breakdown of the process:
1. Qualifying School (Q-School): Historically, Q-School was the primary route for professionals to earn their PGA Tour card. It involved a grueling series of stages, with the top finishers earning their cards. However, since 2013, Q-School has transitioned to primarily granting access to the Korn Ferry Tour, the PGA Tour’s developmental tour.
2. Korn Ferry Tour: Formerly known as the Web.com Tour, the Korn Ferry Tour serves as a stepping stone to the PGA Tour. The top players from the Korn Ferry Tour rankings earn PGA Tour cards for the following season.
3. Sponsor Exemptions: Golfers may receive sponsor exemptions, which allow them to participate in PGA Tour events despite not having a PGA Tour card. These exemptions are typically granted to promising amateurs, veterans, or players who have recently lost their PGA Tour status.
Now, let’s address some common questions related to PGA Tour cards:
1. How many players have a PGA Tour card?
There are approximately 125 players who hold a PGA Tour card each season.
2. What are the benefits of having a PGA Tour card?
Having a PGA Tour card provides access to the most prestigious golf tournaments, higher prize money, and increased exposure to potential sponsors.
3. How long does a PGA Tour card last?
A PGA Tour card is valid for a full season, which typically lasts for twelve months.
4. What happens if a player loses their PGA Tour card?
If a player fails to meet the performance criteria to retain their PGA Tour card, they may have to play on the Korn Ferry Tour to regain their status.
5. Can international players earn a PGA Tour card?
Yes, international players can earn a PGA Tour card through the same qualifying processes as American players.
6. How much money does a golfer need to earn to get a PGA Tour card?
The exact amount of money required to earn a PGA Tour card varies each year. It is based on the money earned by the 125th ranked player from the previous season.
7. Can amateurs earn a PGA Tour card?
Amateurs are eligible to earn a PGA Tour card, but they must turn professional before accepting any prize money.
8. How many players earn their PGA Tour card through Q-School?
Since 2013, no players earn their PGA Tour card directly through Q-School. However, Q-School still grants access to the Korn Ferry Tour.
9. Can a player earn a PGA Tour card without playing on the Korn Ferry Tour?
While it is possible, it is highly unlikely for a player to earn a PGA Tour card without competing on the Korn Ferry Tour or receiving sponsor exemptions.
10. How many PGA Tour cards are awarded to Korn Ferry Tour players?
The top 25 players from the Korn Ferry Tour rankings earn PGA Tour cards, along with an additional 25 players from the Korn Ferry Tour Finals.
11. Can a player lose their PGA Tour card during the season?
Yes, players must maintain a certain level of performance throughout the season to retain their PGA Tour card. Failure to do so may result in losing their card.
12. Can a player with a PGA Tour card compete in other professional golf tours?
While players with a PGA Tour card are primarily focused on playing in PGA Tour events, they may occasionally participate in other tours if they are not scheduled to play a PGA Tour event.
13. How does a golfer with a PGA Tour card plan their schedule?
Golfers with a PGA Tour card carefully plan their schedule based on the tournaments they wish to compete in, their physical well-being, and their performance goals.
In conclusion, a PGA Tour card is a coveted achievement for professional golfers, granting them access to the highest level of competition and exposure. The journey to obtaining a PGA Tour card is filled with challenges, but the rewards are immense for those who succeed.