The PGA Tour is one of the only American professional sports leagues without a direct funnel from the college to professional ranks. According to a Golfweek report, that could be changing.
Brentley Romine writes that a project is in the works, one that reward tournaments and status for the sport’s best amateurs.
“The PGA Tour has been working to develop a new program that will identify, prepare and transition top collegiate golfers to professional golf,” the tour said in a statement. “This program will be designed to reward season-long collegiate play with varying levels of playing access to tours operated under the PGA Tour umbrella while upholding the principles and virtues of college athletics.”
Officials with the PGA Tour initially approached the Golf Coaches Association of America about a partnership roughly a decade ago, and the dialogue has been on and off to varying degrees since.
While a launch date has not been set, the program is believed to be implemented within the next few seasons. Aside from serving as a feeder system into the game, the venture hopes to encourage amateurs to stay in school. Although not necessarily an issue in men’s golf, a host of women players have had to choice between beginning their professional careers in the middle of the college seasons. The frequency became amplified to the point the LPGA now allows deferred status to those who qualify.
Romine reports that the criteria for status and tournament invites will be more than just a mirror of the World Amateur Golf Ranking. The report coincides with the GCAA convention meeting in Las Vegas this week.