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PGA Tour Offers College Golfers New Direct Path to Membership

The PGA Tour announced on Monday that Division I college golfers now will have two clear routes to tour membership through the new PGA Tour University.

The PGA Tour University rankings were created in 2020 to give college seniors a pathway to professional golf and to encourage high-level amateurs to stick around for all four years. The PGA Tour University ranking is calculated in partnership with the World Amateur Golf Ranking—NCAA D-I events, PGA Tour tournaments and select DP World Tour events count toward the final standings. For the past three seasons, top-ranked players have been awarded varying levels of access to the Korn Ferry Tour and the PGA Tour’s other developmental circuits.

Now the stakes have been raised.

Updates are effective immediately: The top-ranked player in the PGA Tour University rankings at the conclusion of the NCAA championships in June will now be awarded full PGA Tour membership. This individual will be eligible for all open, full-field events following the conclusion of the player’s senior season, which the PGA Tour predicts will equal about 14 events.

Texas Tech’s Ludvig Aberg of Sweden currently leads the ranking, with North Carolina’s Austin Greaser, Florida’s Fred Biondi and Texas A&M’s Sam Bennett close behind. According to the Tour, Jon Rahm, Collin Morikawa, and Sahith Theegala would have finished No. 1 if the PGA Tour University rankings had been established prior to 2020.

Players ranked 2-5 in the PGA Tour University rankings still will be exempt members on the Korn Ferry Tour. Similarly, Nos. 6-10 will be awarded conditional status, and Nos. 6-20 will receive membership on PGA Tour Canada and PGA Tour Latinoamérica.

The Tour specified that the newest PGA Tour University benefits have been set for the 2023 season but are yet to be determined for the 2024 season and beyond.

The second pathway the Tour has created for college golf’s top talent is a new program called PGA Tour University Accelerated. This targets younger collegiate players: High-achieving freshman, sophomores and juniors all will have a chance to earn PGA Tour membership by racking up points for specific accomplishments.

If a player earns 20 points by his third year of NCAA eligibility, he will receive PGA Tour membership. Accomplishments that are worth points include winning the Haskins Award, winning a D-I golf tournament, playing in the Walker Cup and making the cut in a PGA Tour event.

According to the Tour, since 2010, only Patrick Cantlay, Justin Thomas and Patrick Rodgers would have earned PGA Tour cards through this program.

The improvements to PGA Tour University were first reported by Golf Channel and were seen as efforts to get college superstars excited about the prospect of playing on the PGA Tour, rather than seeking LIV Golf offers.

Last year, former Oklahoma State standout Eugenio Chacarra gave up his senior year and a spot in the top five of the PGA Tour University rankings to sign a three-year contract with LIV. At the Saudi-backed tour’s Bangkok event, the 22-year-old Spaniard took home the individual title and $4 million.

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