Launch of 2013 Tour season ushers in year of big change

February 14, 2013

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – The Tour’s 24th season gets underway one week from today at the Panama Claro Championship in Panama City, Panama, and with it, the PGA TOUR will usher in the most significant change ever in how a professional golfer qualifies for the TOUR.

The Tour was launched in 1990 with the support and admiration of the legendary Ben Hogan. From its modest beginnings when five PGA TOUR cards were awarded and prize money stood at $100,000 per tournament, the Tour has evolved into one of the most competitive in the world, as evidenced by the number of TOUR cards available increasing to 10, then 15, 20 and 25 in the ensuing years. In one of the Tour’s milestone developments that will further solidify its impact and stature, the Tour becomes the path to the PGA TOUR beginning in 2013, with all 50 cards being awarded through the Tour.

The 25-event Tour season will feature 21 Regular Season tournaments that will set the table for the four-event Tour Finals and the awarding of the 50 TOUR cards in September.

The 2013 campaign gets underway next Thursday (Feb. 21) with successive events in Latin America:

  • Feb. 21-24 Panama Claro Championship in Panama City, Panama
  • Feb. 28 - March 3 Colombia Championship in Bogotá, Colombia
  • March 7-10 Chile Classic in Santiago, Chile

“Both the PGA TOUR and the Tour will clearly be strengthened by the new qualifying system that’s been put in place,” said PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem. “The Tour’s season-long quest has a new and exciting format, with each of the 21 Regular Season events playing a vital role in how the season unfolds, and the four Finals events set to bring a dramatic and unique conclusion to the 2013 season. We think the new structure will identify the 50 best players to go on to the PGA TOUR.”

“We can’t wait to get the 2013 season underway,” said Tour president Bill Calfee. “There is a great deal of excitement and enthusiasm for the year ahead given the dramatic changes to the TOUR’s qualifying structure and the awarding of the 50 cards that will be in effect for the first time. If Mr. Hogan could see how far the tour he helped launch 24 years ago has evolved, he would be truly amazed.”

The Tour will be off for one week after the three-event Latin America swing before starting the domestic season at the Chitimacha Louisiana Open (March 21-24), marking the Tour’s 22nd consecutive visit to Le Triomphe Country Club near Lafayette, La.

After another week off, the Tour will return to South America for the first playing of the Brasil Champions presented by HSBC in São Paulo Apr. 4-7. The new event will highlight the PGA TOUR’s support of golf returning to the Olympics in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.

The next week, Apr. 11-14, the Tour will be in Midland, Texas for the WNB Golf Classic. From this point on, all but one of the remaining 19 events will be played in the United States, the exception being the Tour’s May stop in Leon, Mexico.

The Regular Season ends on Aug. 25th at the Cox Classic presented by Lexus of Omaha (Neb.). The 25 leading money-winners at the conclusion of the Cox Classic will be assured PGA TOUR cards for 2013-14.

The Regular Season will be followed by the Tour Finals, played the last week of August through September in Fort Wayne, Ind., Charlotte, N.C., Columbus, Ohio and Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., with an 25 additional cards on the line (based on Finals’ earnings) and positioning on the PGA TOUR’s all-important priority ranking determined. TPC Sawgrass/Dye’s Valley Course in Ponte Vedra Beach will host the season-culminating Tour Championship where the 50 cards will be awarded.

All four Finals events will offer $1 million purses and be televised on Golf Channel, the Tour’s exclusive television partner in the U.S., as well as internationally to 186 countries and territories via the PGA TOUR’s international broadcast operation.

The Finals will feature the top 75 off the Tour Regular Season money list, PGA TOUR members who are 126-200 on the FedExCup points list following the Wyndham Championship, and any non-members who earn enough FedExCup points to also finish 126-200., a Jacksonville-based leading provider of internet marketing services, enters its first full season of a 10-year agreement as the Tour’s umbrella sponsor.