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  • A season of change is about to unfold

  • Fans and players have a lot to look forward to this upcoming PGA TOUR Latinoaméricas season. (Enrique Berardi/PGA TOUR)
    Fans and players have a lot to look forward to this upcoming PGA TOUR Latinoaméricas season. (Enrique Berardi/PGA TOUR)
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  • PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Florida –With the Estrella del Mar Open about to kick off the 2020 season, PGA TOUR Latinoamérica is set to start a season that will bring several changes into the competition. With long-time PGA TOUR executive Todd Rhinehart now leading PGA TOUR Latinoamérica, the Tour is playing a 14-event schedule that will end in early October in order to accommodate a wraparound schedule that will see the new season begin in December 2020 and end in July 2021.

    The second big change is the introduction of a points-based Order of Merit for the first time, with the top points-earners battling to move to the Korn Ferry Tour, which provides the path to the PGA TOUR.

    Here is a look at all the changes to expect this season:

    A points-based Order of Merit

    Forget about the money (at least as a way of keeping track of players’ successes). Starting this season, PGA TOUR Latinoamérica will use points to measure players’ success. The points-based Order of Merit makes its debut at the season-opening Estrella del Mar Open (March 5-8). Tournament winners will receive 500 points, and an enhanced 600 points will go to the winner at the season-ending tournament. In the event of ties—an inevitability at any tournament—points will be distributed to those players using the same method currently employed to distribute prize money, with each tying position averaged and points distributed evenly to each player in that tying position. This is how the points will be distributed among the top-10 players at a given tournament (ties excluded):

    Position

    Tournament Points

    Season-ending Tournament Points

    1

    500

    600

    2

    300

    330

    3

    190

    210

    4

    135

    150

    5

    110

    120

    6

    100

    110

    7

    90

    100

    8

    85

    94

    9

    80

    88

    10

    75

    82

    The three-win promotion

    Starting this year, any player who wins three tournaments during the course of a season will be rewarded with an immediate promotion and membership on the Korn Ferry Tour. This follows a tradition established by the Korn Ferry Tour, which began the original three-win promotion in 1997 that sent players immediately to the PGA TOUR.

    Cazaubon-Lashley
    Cazaubón, above, won the Lexus Panama Classic, the DR Open and the Perú Open in 2015. Lahsley, below, won the San Luis Championship, the Quito Open and the Shell Championship in 2016. (Photos by Enrique Berardi/PGA TOUR)

    Rodolfo Cazaubón (2015) and Nate Lashley (2016) are the only players who have won three tournaments during a PGA TOUR Latinoamérica season. Lashley, who became a PGA TOUR winner during the 2018-19 season, claimed his three wins in a span of 78 days, between September 12 and December 4. Meanwhile, Cazaubón needed 203 days to reach his three wins—between May 28 and November 22.

    A shorter 2020 season to finish in October

    In preparation for the following season, which is scheduled to start toward the end of the year, PGA TOUR Latinoamérica announced a 2020 schedule of 14 tournaments, beginning with the Estrella del Mar Open on March 5 and ending with the Tour Championship on October 4. This will be the Tour’s ninth season since its inception, in 2012, and it will feature tournaments in nine countries.

    Wrapround 2020-21 season to start in December

    Following a new set of Qualifying Tournaments, to be played in early November that will help establish membership, PGA TOUR Latinoamérica will embark on a historic season starting in December when the Tour moves to a wraparound schedule. The season will begin in 2020 and end in 2021. The Tour’s 10th season will begin with two consecutive events in Argentina, the Neuquén Argentine Classic in San Martin de los Andes and the 115th VISA Open de Argentina in Buenos Aires. After those events, the Tour will observe an approximate 10-week break and resume action in March 2021, with the projected 16-tournament season concluding in July.

    Rhinehart is the new man in charge

    The 2020 season will be Todd Rhinehart’s first as the head of PGA TOUR Latinoamérica, replacing recently retired Jack Warfield, who guided the Tour from its inception, in 2012. Rhinehart joined the PGA TOUR in 1999 and served for seven years as the Executive Director of the PGA TOUR’s CIMB Classic in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He held responsibilities with various World Golf Championships events and the Presidents Cup. The 2003 World Golf Championships – American Express Championship (now the Mexico Championship) marked his move to Atlanta, where he took over as the Executive Director of the season-ending TOUR Championship, from 2004 to 2012.

    Rhinehart-Todd

    “This is a great opportunity to work on an established Tour that has grown significantly since its inception eight years ago. With a strong team in place, a great 2020 schedule already announced and the fact that we will move to a wraparound schedule for 2020-21, it’s an exciting time to be involved with PGA TOUR Latinoamérica,” said Rhinehart.