What Is A PGA Tour Card

A PGA Tour Card is a highly sought-after pass that allows professional golfers to participate in PGA Tour events, one of the most prestigious and competitive golf circuits in the world. Earning a PGA Tour Card is a major accomplishment for any golfer and can significantly advance their career. In this article, we will discuss what a PGA Tour Card is, the benefits it offers, and the process of obtaining one.

What Is A PGA Tour Card?

A PGA Tour Card is a membership status awarded to professional golfers, granting them eligibility to compete in the majority of PGA Tour events throughout the golfing season. The PGA (Professional Golfers’ Association) Tour is a series of professional golf tournaments that take place primarily in the United States, with a few events held in other countries. The PGA Tour Card acts as a ticket to these events, providing golfers with the opportunity to compete against the best players in the world and earn significant prize money.

Benefits of a PGA Tour Card

  1. Access to PGA Tour events: Cardholders gain entry to most PGA Tour events, with the exception of a few invitation-only tournaments, such as the Masters and certain World Golf Championships events.
  2. Increased earnings potential: PGA Tour events offer substantial prize money, with each tournament’s purse often totaling millions of dollars. Having a PGA Tour Card enables golfers to potentially earn more than they would on lower-tier golf tours.
  3. Sponsorship opportunities: The exposure from playing on the PGA Tour can lead to lucrative sponsorship and endorsement deals for cardholders.
  4. World Golf Ranking points: Golfers earn Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points by performing well in PGA Tour events, which can improve their global standing and qualify them for additional prestigious tournaments.
  5. Networking and camaraderie: PGA Tour Card holders get the chance to forge relationships with other professional golfers, both on and off the course.
  6. Access to world-class facilities: PGA Tour Card holders have the opportunity to practice and compete at some of the finest golf courses in the world, providing them with top-notch playing conditions and resources.
  7. Professional development opportunities: Playing on the PGA Tour exposes golfers to various playing styles, techniques, and strategies, helping them to grow and improve as players.
  8. Enhanced visibility and fan engagement: PGA Tour events often have large galleries and substantial media coverage, giving cardholders the chance to showcase their skills to a global audience and build their fan base.

How to Obtain a PGA Tour Card

There are several ways to earn a PGA Tour Card:

  1. Korn Ferry Tour: The Korn Ferry Tour, formerly known as the Web.com Tour, serves as the primary pathway to the PGA Tour. The top finishers in the Korn Ferry Tour’s regular season and finals earn PGA Tour Cards for the following season.
  2. PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament (Q-School): Q-School was once the primary method of obtaining a PGA Tour Card, but since 2013, it only grants access to the Korn Ferry Tour. Golfers can still advance to the PGA Tour by performing well on the Korn Ferry Tour.
  3. Special Temporary Memberships: Non-PGA Tour members who accumulate enough FedExCup points through a limited number of PGA Tour events may receive a special temporary membership, granting access to additional tournaments.
  4. Past champions and other exemptions: Golfers who have won PGA Tour events or meet specific criteria, such as career earnings or a high world ranking, may be eligible for limited exemptions that grant access to certain tournaments.

Maintaining a PGA Tour Card

Obtaining a PGA Tour Card is a significant achievement, but maintaining it requires continued strong performance. Each year, golfers must retain their PGA Tour status by meeting specific criteria, such as finishing within a certain range on the FedExCup points list or winning a tournament during the season. Failure to do so may result in the loss of their PGA Tour Card, forcing them to requalify through the Korn Ferry Tour or other avenues.

Challenges Faced by PGA Tour Cardholders

  1. Intense competition: The level of play on the PGA Tour is exceptionally high, with a multitude of talented golfers competing for limited spots in tournaments and on leaderboards. This can make it challenging for cardholders to maintain their status or achieve success.
  2. Travel demands: The PGA Tour schedule is demanding, with golfers often required to travel extensively and compete in back-to-back tournaments. This can be physically and mentally draining, impacting their performance and overall well-being.
  3. Pressure and expectations: PGA Tour Card holders face immense pressure to perform well and live up to the expectations of sponsors, fans, and themselves. This can lead to stress and anxiety, which may affect their game.
  4. Injuries and setbacks: Golfers are susceptible to injuries, both acute and chronic, which can hinder their performance and jeopardize their PGA Tour Card status.


PGA Tour Card Benefits

BenefitDescriptionImpact on Golfer’s CareerExampleMonetary Value
Access to PGA Tour eventsEntry to most PGA Tour tournaments, except invitation-only eventsIncreased exposureParticipating in The Players ChampionshipVaries
Increased earnings potentialHigher prize money in PGA Tour events compared to lower-tier toursFinancial stabilityWinning a PGA Tour eventMillions of dollars
Sponsorship opportunitiesAttracting endorsements and sponsors due to exposure on the PGA TourAdditional incomeSigning a deal with a major golf brandVaries
World Golf Ranking pointsEarning OWGR points to improve global standing and qualify for additional tournamentsHigher statusQualifying for the MastersN/A
Networking and camaraderieBuilding relationships with fellow professional golfers, both on and off the courseProfessional connectionsForming partnerships or friendships with peersN/A

Methods to Obtain a PGA Tour Card

MethodDescriptionEligibility CriteriaSuccess RateTime to PGA Tour Card
Korn Ferry TourFinishing top in the Korn Ferry Tour’s regular season and finalsProfessional golferCompetitive1 season
PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament (Q-School)Performing well in Q-School to gain access to Korn Ferry Tour and then advance to PGA TourProfessional golferCompetitive1-2 seasons
Special Temporary MembershipsAccumulate enough FedExCup points through limited PGA Tour eventsNon-PGA Tour membersDifficultVaries
Past champions and other exemptionsWin PGA Tour events or meet specific criteria, such as career earnings or high world rankingVariesExclusiveImmediate or Varies

Top 5 PGA Tour Tournaments

TournamentPrize MoneyFedExCup PointsImportance on PGA TourHistoric WinnersNotable Features
The Masters$11.5 million600First major of the yearJack Nicklaus , Tiger Woods, Phil MickelsonGreen Jacket
U.S. Open$12.5 million600Second major of the yearBobby Jones, Ben Hogan, Arnold PalmerTough playing conditions
The Open Championship (British Open)$10.75 million600Third major of the yearHarry Vardon, Tom Watson, Rory McIlroyLinks-style courses
PGA Championship$12 million600Final major of the yearWalter Hagen, Gary Player, Brooks KoepkaWanamaker Trophy
The Players Championship$15 million600“Fifth major” of golfJack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Jason Day17th island green

 Criteria for Maintaining PGA Tour Card

CriterionDescriptionTimeframeDifficultyImpact on Card Status
FedExCup points list finishFinish within a certain range on the FedExCup points listEnd of seasonModerateRetain card
Tournament winWin a PGA Tour event during the seasonDuring the seasonDifficultRetain card
Medical exemptionsReceive a medical exemption due to injury or illness, allowing a golfer to retain their cardDuration of exemptionN/ARetain card
Career money listFinish within a certain range on the PGA Tour’s all-time career money listN/ADifficultRetain card
Past champion exemptionsWin a major championship or The Players Championship, granting an exemption for a set periodVariesExclusiveRetain card

Challenges Faced by PGA Tour Cardholders

ChallengeDescriptionImpact on PerformancePotential ConsequencesStrategies to Overcome
Intense competitionHigh level of play and limited spots in tournaments and leaderboardsIncreased pressureLoss of PGA Tour CardPractice, coaching, mental training
Travel demandsExtensive travel and back-to-back tournamentsFatiguePoor performanceTime management, rest, nutrition
Pressure and expectationsHigh expectations from sponsors, fans, and oneselfStress and anxietyLoss of confidenceMental training, support networks
Injuries and setbacksAcute or chronic injuries affecting performanceReduced performanceLoss of PGA Tour CardProper conditioning, rehabilitation,


A PGA Tour Card is a valuable asset for professional golfers, allowing them to compete in premier golf events, potentially earn significant income, and advance their careers. Obtaining a PGA Tour Card is a challenging feat, requiring exceptional skill and dedication, but those who earn one can reap the rewards of competing at the highest level of the sport.


  • Ray Barnes

    Ray Barnes, our Senior Staff Writer and a Golf Analyst with a PhD in Sports Analytics, is a beacon of insight in the golfing world. With a deep understanding of the sport's nuances, statistical analysis, and a talent for demystifying complexities, he provides in-depth analysis and captivating narratives that engage golf enthusiasts worldwide.

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