What Are The Professional Golf Tours?
It may come as a surprise to many to learn that the PGA TOUR does not — in the usual sense of the word — have a monopoly on men’s professional golf. Golf is a world game, and professional golf tours exist in every corner of the planet.
Currently, there are two dozen golf tours that receive Official World Golf Ranking points. For the purposes of this post, I am not listing women’s golf tours such as the LPGA, LET (Ladies European Tour), LPGA of Japan, LPGA of Korea, Ladies Asian Golf Tour, WPGA Tour of Australasia, Epson Tour, LET Access, Legends Tour, Swedish Golf Tour, Step Up Tour, Legends Tour and others I likely am forgetting.
Here is a list of some of the world’s men’s professional golf tours, in likely order of wealth.
The newest golf tour is also the wealthiest. Launched in 2022 and funded by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, LIV has made a stir by spending billions to attract already established names from the PGA TOUR and DP World Tour. LIV golf has eight events on its schedule in 2022 and twelve scheduled for 2022. LIV golf’s frontman is Greg Norman. Total purse for each LIV event is $25 million. Currently LIV receives no OWGR points
The PGA TOUR was formed in 1969 as the result of a split with the PGA of America. With some $1.5 billion in annual revenues, the PGA TOUR is the clear second place tour in that category. The PGA TOUR had 48 official events in the 2021-2022 season, including several co-sanctioned with the European Tour, the four “Majors,” and the tour’s FedEx Cup playoffs and Tour Championship. The purse average is $8.5 million, and a minimum of 24 OWGR points are awarded for a first-place finish.
European Tour/DP World Tour
Formed in 1972, the European Tour is currently known as the DP World Tour for sponsorship reasons. In 2021 – 2022 the DP World Tour had 43 official events, including several co-sanctioned with the PGA TOUR, the four “Majors” and the Tour’s Championship. Purses average $2.5 million, and a minimum of 24 OWGR points are awarded for a first-place finish.
In 2021 – 2022, the Asian Tour scheduled events in Thailand, India, New Zealand, South Korea, Indonesia, Singapore, and Taiwan. Its flagship event, however, is the PIF Saudi International, which has a $5 million purse. The PIF in the title is the same Public Investment Fund that bankrolls LIV golf. The Asian Golf Tour held its inaugural season in 1994. Members earn official World Golf Ranking points. The tour purse averages just over $1 million.
Based in Southern and East Africa, the Sunshine Tour was launched in 1971. Its original name was the Southern Africa Tour. It rebranded in 2000. For 2022-23 there are 23 events, with purses in $1 million range. Their final event, the Nedbank Golf Challenge, has a $6 million purse. Sunshine Tour events receive OWGR points.
All Thailand Golf Tour
The All Thailand Golf tour was founded in 1999. In 2022, there are 11 events, averaging $960,000 per event. All Thailand Golf receives OWGR points (5 to the winner)
Japan Golf Tour
The Japan Golf Tour played its first tournament in 1973. It includes players not only from Japan but from other countries as well. The tour earns Official World Golf Ranking points, and its members can qualify for golf’s Majors. The Tour has 25 official events. It was for many years the third most lucrative men’s golf tour, but purses now average $800,000. Japan golf tour events receive OWGR points.
Professional golf tournaments in Korea date to 1958 with the Korean Professional Golf Championship and Korean Open. The seventeen events on the Korean Tour average an $800,000 purse. Korean Tour events receive OWGR points.
Korn Ferry Tour
Beginning life as the Ben Hogan Tour in 1990, the Korn Ferry Tour serves as the PGA TOUR’s developmental league. The top 25 on the money list earn PGA TOUR cards. The tour has 26 events where the purses average $782,000. A minimum of 14 first place OWGR points are available.
Professional Golf Tour of India
The Tata Steel Professional Golf Tour of India was founded in 2006. The twenty four events on their schedule have an average purse of $90,000; the DGC Open, however, has a $500,000 purse. PGTI events receive OWGR points.
The developmental league for the DP World Tour was launched in 1986. Purses average $250,000 over 29 events. Winners receive a minimum of 12 OWGR points.
PGA TOUR of Australasia
Currently known as the ISPS Handa PGA Tour of Australasia, the tour was founded in 1973. In 2021 – 2022, it had seventeen events with a purse average of $187,000. PGA TOUR of Australasia events receive a minimum of 6 OWGR points for the winner.
PGA Tour Latinoamérica
The PGA Tour Latinoamérica runs 12 events with an average purse of $175,000. It is a feeder tour to the Korn Ferry Tour, which itself is a feeder tour to the PGA TOUR. PGA Tour Latinoamérica winners get a minimum of 6 OWGR points.
PGA TOUR Canada
A PGA TOUR sanctioned tour, PGA TOUR Canada currently is known as the Mackenzie Tour for branding purposes. It began in 1966 as the Carling of Canada Golf Tour. In 2022, ten events are scheduled with an average purse of $155,000. PGA TOUR Canada winners get a minimum of 6 OWGR points.
Japan Challenge Tour
Known as the AbemaTV Tour for sponsorship reasons, the Japan Challenge Tour is a feeder for the Japan Tour. In 2022, it had 14 events, averaging $110,000 a purse. Tour winners earn 4 points for the 54 hole events.
Originally a division of the PGA TOUR, the China Tour split into its own entity i 2014. In 2022, the China Tour runs 11 events averaging an $88,000 purse. China Tour event winners receive a minimum of 6 OWGR points.
Asian Development Tour
Associated with the Asian Tour, the Asian Development Tour was launched in 2010. The top five players on the tour’s money list earn an Asian Tour card. A minimum of six OWGR points go to the winners. In 2022, the ADT had 12 events averaging $81,000 a purse.
Nordic Golf League
A feeder tour to a feeder tour (Challenge Tour), the Nordic Golf League has 27 events scheduled for 2022. Tournaments are primarily in Denmark, Norway and Sweden. The average purse is $60,000 and the first place winner receives a minimum of 6 OWGR points.
PGA EuroPro Tour
EuroPro is a third tier tour, essentially serving as the developmental tour for the Challenge Tour, which is itself a developmental tour for the DP World Tour. EuroPro has scheduled 15 events in 2022, with an average purse of $60,000. Events earn a minimum of 6 OWGR points for the winner.
Founded in 2001, the Alps Tour is based in continental Europe. In 2022, the Alps Tour had twenty events with an average purse of $39,500. Alps tour events earn 4 OWGR points for the winner.
Pro Golf Tour
Another of the third tier tours, the Pro Golf Tour is a feeder for the Challenge Tour, which feeds to the DP World Tour. The tour has 13 events scheduled in 2022, with an average purse of $30,000. Winners receive an minimum of 6 OWGR points.
Big Easy Tour
Named for South African golfer Ernie Els, the Big Easy Tour is a developmental league for the Sunshine Tour. They earn a minimum of 5 OWGR points for their 72-hole tournaments and 3 for 54-hole tournaments. In 2022, they had ten events averaging a purse of $8, 931.
In addition to the ones listed above, there are seemingly endless professional golf tours known as “mini tours.” These are typically one- or two-day tournaments and some are little better than vanity tours. Here are a few:
- Swingthought Tour (formerly the Hooters Tour) Note that among this tour’s graduates are Zach Johnson, John Daly, Bubba Watson and Keegan Bradley.
- Minor League Golf Tour
- Blue Golf
- Bushveld Tour
- Gateway Tour
- Cactus Tour
- All Pro Tour
- Pepsi Tour
- Florida Elite
- Legacy Golf Tour
- Outlaw Tour
- Florida Professional Golf Tour
- Carolina Mountain Professional Golf Tour
- West Florida Golf Tour
- Great Lakes Golf Tour
- Unbridled Golf Tour
- Golden State Tour
- Emerald Coast Tour