For the first time, college and amateur golfers have a direct path to the PGA Tour based on their performance before turning professional. On Monday, at a regularly scheduled meeting ahead of this week’s RSM Classic, the PGA Tour Policy Council approved two measures that provide new avenues for access.
The former gives the highest player in the final PGA Tour World Ranking University Velocity full membership on the PGA Tour at the end of the college golf season in June. The change goes into effect next spring, allowing the number one golfer in the 2022-23 ranking of college seniors to –A spot currently held by Ludvig Aberg of Texas Tech– To play as a fully exempted member of the PGA Tour through the end of 2023, including any fall events the tour conducts while it revises its schedule. Tour officials estimate that the top player will be eligible to compete in 14 events starting with the RBC Canadian Open (June 8-11) and earn official FedEx Cup Points.
In addition, the tour created the PGA Tour University Accelerated, a program for all college golfers that allows them to gain tour membership after earning a minimum number of points based on various performance criteria. Among them are being named National Player of the Year, winning individual titles in numerous college and amateur tournaments, and playing in national team competitions and in PGA Tour events.
“Success at the highest levels in collegiate and amateur golf has proven to be a strong indicator of a player’s potential as a professional golfer,” PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Moanan said in a statement. It showed us that these players are ready to compete and win right away, and these two additions to the program reinforce our commitment to college golf and will provide future stars direct access to the PGA Tour.”
LIV also reported that it had offered Percyson Cody, the number one player on the 2022 PGA Tour university ranking, a lucrative contract that he said he turned down.
The adjustment to the PGA Tour University Program, first implemented in the 2020-21 college season, does not change the remaining bonuses for players who finish in the top 20 in the final standings in 2023. Numbers 2-5 on the Korn Ferry Tour and through to the stage will be exempt Finalists from the School of PGA Tour Qualification while numbers 6-10 earn conditional KFT membership. Numbers 6-20 are also exempt from play on the PGA Tour Canada, PGA Tour Latinoamerica, and in Stage 2 of the PGA Tour Q School. For the 2024 season and beyond, PGA Tour eligibility for PGA Tour university players has not yet been determined.
Tour officials note that had the PGA Tour University Ranking been in place prior to 2020, players who would have been ranked No. 1 would include John Ramm (2016), Colin Morikawa (2019) and Saith Thigala (2020).
Under the points structure established for the PGA Tour Accelerated, three golfers since 2010 would have had tour cards and were eligible to join the PGA Tour at the end of their college season: Patrick Cantlay (2012), Justin Thomas (2013) and Patrick Rodgers ( 2014).
PGA Tour Accelerated Tour points can be earned at the following milestones:
The program begins retrospectively, with currently the top three college players Michael Thorbjornsen (12 points), Vanderbilt sophomore Gordon Sargent (10) and North Florida’s Nick Gabrielsik (4).