Golf Tournaments and Events:

Top level professional golf consists of a year round schedule of weekly tournaments played all around the world. Most of the tournaments are organised into series called tours. There are separate tours for men and women. Each tour is based in a specific geographical region, though some of them also include events in other parts of the world.

Golf is one of the more lucrative sports in the world for both men and women, but it is has a very different structure from other sports, especially team sports. A large majority of professional golfers (at least 95%) make their main income as club or teaching professionals, rather than from competition. "Touring professionals", also known as "Tournament golfers" or "Pro golfers", who make their income from prize money and endorsements, are a small elite within the profession. The very best golfers make up to 8-figure incomes in U.S. dollars; Tiger Woods is the highest earning sportsman in the world, according to Forbes magazine.

But for the less successful, tournament golf can be an unstable profession. It is also an expensive one to participate in: tournaments have entry fees and practical costs such as travel and lodging expenses, as well as paying for a caddy. Moreover, most tournaments have a "cut" midway through, in which the bottom half of players with the worst scores are eliminated. Only those players remaining after the cut earn any prize money at all. Thus, after costs are taken into account, lesser-known tournament golfers who are playing erratically (and do not have a steady income from endorsements) can be in dire financial straits in a bad year.

The History of Touring:

The golf tour system evolved more by trial and error than by design. In the early days of professional golf in each region of the world each professional tournament was established by a separate golf club, golf organization or commercial sponsor. As the number of tournaments increased the most talented professional golfers concentrated mainly on playing in tournaments rather than on club professional and golf instruction work. Once a good number of tournaments were being played in a region each year they were formalised into a "tour", which was supervised by a single organisation, although individual tournaments continue to be run by separate bodies in many cases.

The PGA Tour was the pioneer of the tour system, and its establishment date is not very clearly defined. The PGA of America was established in 1916, lists of players with most wins in each season are available from that year, and career win totals are based on results from 1916 onwards. However the idea of a "tour" had not firmly crystallised at that time and several important developments came much later. Bob Harlow was named manager of the PGA Tournament Bureau in 1930, the first "playing pros" organisation was formed in 1932, and money lists are available from 1934. However the PGA Tour itself dates the formal establishment of the Tour to 1968, when the "Tournament Players Division" split from the PGA of America. The dates of establishment of the other key tours include: LPGA Tour (1950); European Tour (1972); Japan Golf Tour (1973); Asian Tour (1995). The term "circuit" is often used to describe professional tournament golf in the pre-Tour era in any given region. For example, before the foundation of the Asian Tour, tournaments in Asia were part of the "Asian circuit".

As professional golf has continued to expand developmental tours such as the Challenge Tour (1986) and the Nationwide Tour (1990; originally called the Ben Hogan Tour), and senior tours such as the Champions Tour (1980; originally the Senior PGA Tour) and the European Seniors Tour (1992) have been established to give more golfers the opportunity to play on a tour, and to take advantage of the willingness of sponsors and broadcasters to fund an ever increasing number of tournaments.