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How Many Players Are On The PGA Tour?

Determining the number of golf players on the PGA Tour can be somewhat confusing. This results from what appears to be a considerable number of participants entering and exiting events regularly. It is no wonder many are unsure how many players are on the PGA Tour at any given time. So, how many players are on the PGA Tour?

The number of players on the PGA Tour fluctuates throughout the year. Approximately 144 golfers compete in the spring and winter sections of the Tour, and up to 156 players throughout the summer and into the fall.

All qualifying players with PGA Tour cards make up the playing pool. The top 125 competitors have full membership.

Here is what to know about:

  • How many players can generally be found on the PGA Tour
  • Whether or not it is difficult for players to enter the Tour
  • If all PGA Tour players get a cut of the pay
How Many Players are on the PGA Tour?

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How Many Players Are On The PGA Tour?

Depending on not just the time of year but the daylight hours available, the field for the majority of the organized events on the PGA Tour is either 132, 144, or 156 players. The winner typically receives 18% of the entire prize pool, with all participants who make the cut earning money from the tournament.

The top 125 golf players who make it to the playoffs are offered full exemptions to the Tour the following year. They can also make their own timetables and choose which games to participate in and which to forgo.

Then there are individuals with conditional membership, who are allowed to participate in some tournaments but must forgo others so that lower-tier players can enter.

Conditional status on said PGA Tour and full status on the famous Korn Ferry Tour are given to the 25 golfers who place 126–150 on the season’s final money list. There are typically 144 players in Tour events.

Therefore, there are 19 slots available for all those 25 players if we assume that the top 125 players participate, although this rarely occurs.

St Andrews Old Course, Scotland. View of course and clubhouse.
St Andrews Old Course, Scotland.

There have been instances of two events taking place at once. To give you an idea, there is a week where a Championship takes place when all 125 of the Tour’s top players can compete.

This frees up a field of 132 players to compete, allowing them to move up in both money and FedEx Cup points to earn a full exemption for the following two seasons with a win or a relatively high finish. The Tour includes 4 of these weeks.

One of which is usually when the British Open takes place. Regardless of the tour they play on, the best players want to win this tournament. Thus with limited spots available in Britain, the PGA can organize a competitive competition easily for those who don’t qualify.

Is It Difficult For Players To Join The PGA Tour?

Let’s be honest. It’s actually somewhat difficult for just anyone to enter the PGA Tour. The majority of the players on the Tour have a history of success dating back to their young golf days and began to dominate adult golfers when they were young.

Few golfers who are not naturally talented from an early age may achieve such success. Most golfers are often excellent high school athletes who compete in numerous junior-level tournaments and win at their schools.

They become noticed by college scouts by participating in numerous junior competitions and going on to play golf at the college level. Usually, those with highly impressive college résumés are the ones who make it onto the Tour.

However, with all that being said, how do golfers qualify when the Q School is no longer in existence? Golfers typically need to amass enough FedEx Cup points to finish in the top 125 by year-end – either through sponsor exemptions or Monday qualifiers.

Top achievers receive 50 PGA Tour cards – 25 top earners during the regular season and 25 throughout the postseason. Every year, at least 50 golfers will advance from the Korn Ferry Tour, the level below the PGA Tour, to earn their PGA Tour cards.

Additionally, golfers on the European Tour are permitted entry into some events.

Jon Rahm
Instagram: @jonrahm

Plus, tournament sponsors are free to grant exemptions to anybody they choose. This status is arranged in a hierarchy. Since only 144/156 seats are available for PGA events, not all exemptions are created equally.

It varies greatly; if you win an event, you get a two-year exemption. A one-year exemption is granted if you place high enough on the money list without winning. A significant win usually in a ‘Major’ grants a 5-year exemption.

It is challenging for golfers just outside of the top 125. Players cannot enter any events until the tournament’s conclusion from the prior week. Players have till Friday to commit to a tournament happening the following week.

However, they also automatically qualify for the upcoming Tour event if they finish in the top 10. Thus, after one event, these individuals are only selected after all the other golfers who have committed.

After all that hard work, it’s insanely easy for players to lose a PGA Tour card. All it takes is players failing to make the cut at a championship or finishing outside the top 125 golf players in the FedEx Cup rankings.

See also: 7 Ways To Become a Pro Golfer

Do All PGA Tour Players Get Paid?

Golf pay is interesting for many reasons and one aspect that distinguishes professional golf from many pro sports.

Yes, the top players are multi-millionaires and receive huge paychecks. Usually, much more than players get in other sports.

But players in, say, the NFL or NBA are contracted to their teams and get paid a weekly salary, win or lose.

In golf, players only get paid if they make the cut and play the last two days of the tournament.

Rory McIlroy
Instagram: @rorymcilroy

Although a large percentage of PGA Tour professionals, possibly even the majority, have endorsement contracts, which may even include incentives for high finishes in games, they are also not paid to appear in PGA Tour tournaments.

Therefore every shot they make in a tournament directly affects their revenue.

If a participant fails to make the cut, the tournament does not send them a check for that particular week.

See also: Do PGA Players Pay To Enter Tournaments?

Final Thoughts

As can be seen, there are a lot of players that go on the PGA Tour. This isn’t surprising, as it is one of the most well-known golf tournaments. Unfortunately, getting there isn’t easy; unlike other sports events, players need to play and perform well to earn money.

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