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How we got to PGA TOUR Americas: Trace the circuit's origins, evolution

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13 Aug 1999:  Mike Weir of Canada follows his drive off the 15th tee during the second round of the PGA Championship at Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Illinois. Mandatory Credit: Harry How  /Allsport

13 Aug 1999: Mike Weir of Canada follows his drive off the 15th tee during the second round of the PGA Championship at Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Illinois. Mandatory Credit: Harry How /Allsport

PGA TOUR Canada, PGA TOUR Latinoamérica merge into singular 16-event circuit

    Written by Kevin Prise @PGATOURKevin

    Joel Dahmen. Mackenzie Hughes. Nico Echavarria. Sam Stevens.

    These are some names that have progressed from the PGA TOUR’s international pathway tours – PGA TOUR Canada and PGA TOUR Latinoamérica – to reach the PGA TOUR and achieve success on the game’s highest level.

    The 2024 season will bring a new era in PGA TOUR pathway golf, as these two long-standings developmental circuits will blend into the newly formed PGA TOUR Americas. The circuit’s inaugural schedule was announced Tuesday, featuring 16 events across eight countries.

    Beginning in 2024, PGA TOUR Americas will offer exempt Korn Ferry Tour cards to the top 10 finishers on the season-long Fortinet Cup Standings. This will allow more PGA TOUR Americas graduates to plan a schedule for the following season. There will be up to five additional conditional cards as well, in the event any of the top two on the Latin America Swing or top three on the North America Swing do not finish inside the season-long top 10.

    Before we move forward, though, it’s fitting to take a quick look back at how we got here.

    PGA TOUR-sanctioned golf was introduced in Latin America and Canada in consecutive years. The long-running Tour de Las Americas merged into PGA TOUR Latinoamérica prior to the 2012 season. A year later, the TOUR assumed operations of the long-running Canadian Tour, rebranded as PGA TOUR Canada.

    The Latin America circuit’s origins can be traced to the Caribbean Tour from the late 1950s to the mid-1970s, which gave way to the South American Tour (beginning in 1979) featuring five national opens. This progressed to the Tour Sudamericano, founded in 1991, that was relaunched in 2000 under the name Tour de las Americas. The circuit proceeded to co-sanction events with the Challenge Tour, and in 2008 with the Canadian Tour (a unique precursor to PGA TOUR Americas). At times, leading players on Tour de Las Americas would receive exemptions into certain Korn Ferry Tour events. The circuit joined the International Federation of PGA Tours as an associate member in 2007, and it received Official World Golf Ranking points beginning in 2011. The next year, it became a TOUR-sanctioned circuit, with Ariel Cañete winning the 2012 season-long standings.

    The Canadian circuit’s origins can be traced back to the Carling of Canada Golf Tour (1966-69), which gave way to the Peter Jackson Tour in 1971 – bringing together seven provincial opens. Title sponsor Imperial Tobacco withdrew its sponsorship in 1978 and the circuit broke apart. Then in 1982, Canadian touring professionals formed the Tournament Players Division (TPD) within the Canadian Professional Golfers Association (CPGA) and proposed a reorganized circuit, leading to the 1985 introduction of the Canadian Professional Golf Tour.

    At the time, most tournaments were 36- or 54-hole events, some with pro-am formats. The longer-term goal, reached in 1989, was for all events to feature 72 holes with no pro-ams during competition, to best prepare players for the PGA TOUR. (Season-long winners included Mike Weir in 1997.) In 2000, the Canadian Tour became an associate member of the International Federation of PGA Tours, and it became a full member in 2009. Four years later, it became a TOUR-sanctioned circuit, with Mackenzie Hughes winning the 2013 season-long standings.

    Since the inception of PGA TOUR Latinoamérica and PGA TOUR Canada, the top five on each circuit’s season-long standings have earned Korn Ferry Tour status for the following season. The No. 1 finisher has earned exempt Korn Ferry Tour status, with the remainder earning conditional status at minimum but needing to play Final Stage of Q-School to secure guaranteed starts.

    Now 10 players will earn Korn Ferry Tour exempt status via PGA TOUR Americas. It's a new era for the PGA TOUR’s international tours, and it begins next spring.

    Here’s a look back at the players who earned Korn Ferry Tour status via PGA TOUR Canada and PGA TOUR Latinoamérica.

    PGA TOUR Canada


    1. Hayden Springer
    2. Sam Choi
    3. Davis Lamb
    4. Étienne Papineau
    5. Cao Yi


    1. Wil Bateman
    2. Jake Knapp
    3. Noah Goodwin
    4. Scott Stevens
    5. Ryan Gerard

    2021 (pandemic-halted; no Korn Ferry Tour cards awarded)

    1. Callum Davison
    2. Blair Bursey
    3. Noah Steele
    4. Brendan Leonard
    5. Michael Blair

    2020 – no Tour due to COVID-19


    1. Paul Barjon
    2. Taylor Pendrith
    3. Jake Knapp
    4. Lorens Chan
    5. Patrick Fishburn


    1. Tyler McCumber
    2. George Cunningham
    3. Zach Wright
    4. Corey Pereira
    5. Michael Gellerman


    1. Kramer Hickok
    2. Robby Shelton
    3. Johnny Ruiz
    4. Patrick Newcomb
    5. Rico Hoey


    1. Dan McCarthy
    2. Brock Mackenzie
    3. Taylor Moore
    4. Aaron Wise
    5. Adam Cornelson


    1. J.J. Spaun
    2. C.T. Pan
    3. Taylor Pendrith
    4. Sam Ryder
    5. Jason Millard


    1. Joel Dahmen
    2. Matt Harmon
    3. Tim Madigan
    4. Brock Mackenzie
    5. Greg Eason


    1. Mackenzie Hughes
    2. Riley Wheeldon
    3. Mark Hubbard
    4. Hugo Leon
    5. Wil Collins

    PGA TOUR Latinoamérica


    1. Chandler Blanchet
    2. Myles Creighton
    3. Walker Lee
    4. Austin Hitt
    5. Charlie Hillier


    1. Mitchell Meissner
    2. Cristobal del Solar
    3. Jorge Fernández Valdés
    4. Kevin Velo
    5. Alejandro Tosti


    1. Brandon Matthews
    2. Sam Stevens
    3. Conner Godsey
    4. Alvaro Ortiz
    5. MJ Maguire


    1. Augusto Núñez
    2. Tom Whitney
    3. Jared Wolfe
    4. Evan Harmeling
    5. John Somers


    1. Harry Higgs
    2. Nico Echavarria
    3. Michael Buttacavoli
    4. Austin Smotherman
    5. Marcelo Rozo


    1. José de Jesús Rodríguez
    2. Jared Wolfe
    3. Brian Richey
    4. Jose Toledo
    5. Nelson Ledesma


    1. Nate Lashley
    2. Augusto Núñez
    3. Mito Pereira
    4. Emilio Dominguez
    5. Samuel Del Val


    1. Rodolfo Cazaubon
    2. Kent Bulle
    3. Rafael Campos
    4. Alexandre Rocha
    5. Tommy Cocha


    1. Julian Etulain
    2. Marcelo Rozo
    3. Tyler McCumber
    4. Brad Hopfinger
    5. Jorge Fernández Valdés


    1. Ryan Blaum
    2. José de Jesús Rodríguez
    3. Timothy O’Neal
    4. Jorge Fernández Valdés
    5. Manuel Villegas


    1. Ariel Cañete
    2. Oscar Fraustro
    3. Clodomiro Carranza
    4. Matias O’Curry
    5. Tommy Cocha

    Kevin Prise is an associate editor for the PGA TOUR. He is on a lifelong quest to break 80 on a course that exceeds 6,000 yards and to see the Buffalo Bills win a Super Bowl. Follow Kevin Prise on Twitter.

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