Since the inception of the PGA TOUR’s International Tours in 2012, when PGA TOUR Latinoamérica began, the top-five finishers on their respective seasons’ Orders of Merit earned Korn Ferry Tour status for the subsequent year.
The three International Tours announced today there will be enhanced Korn Ferry Tour playing opportunities for those players whose season-long performances earn them top-five status on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica, the Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada and PGA TOUR Series-China. This change is effective immediately.
“We have done extensive research, and we’ve looked at the International Tour players’ performances on the Korn Ferry Tour. It became very clear that these three Tours have been producing so many good players that we had to improve their access into Korn Ferry Tour tournaments,” said Rob Ohno, the PGA TOUR’s Senior Vice President, International Tours.
The PGA TOUR Policy Board voted in June to adjust playing spots in certain eligibility categories, beginning in 2020, to help facilitate this change, and these modifications will improve the prospects of players getting into Korn Ferry Tour tournament fields. The Board ratified this action on November 18.
“When we looked at the data, the International Tour players were having comparable success with players who were earning Korn Ferry Tour membership via the Qualifying Tournament,” Ohno continued. “With these players coming off the International Tours achieving at the next level and then on to the PGA TOUR, the Policy Board approved the changes to reward them and improve their playing possibilities.”
For the first time, International Tour alumni comprised the majority of both the top-25 players on the final points list (14 players) and the top-75 players (39 players). Of the 50 players who moved from the Korn Ferry Tour to the PGA TOUR for the 2019-20 season, 23 had significant International Tour experience.
“The International Tours are doing exactly what they were intended to do when the PGA TOUR created all three in successive years, beginning in 2012,” added Ohno. “These players are coming out of the International Tours after playing in PGA TOUR-caliber events only staged on a smaller scale ready to play and ready to win, which we’ve seen them do. We are also watching these players who just a few years ago were playing in Latin America, Canada and China playing at the game’s highest levels.”
At this year’s Presidents Cup, the International Tours are well-represented, with Tony Finau (Mackenzie Tour) one of the 12 players on the U.S. team, with Haotong Li (PGA TOUR Series-China) and C.T. Pan (Mackenzie Tour) competing for the International Team.
In 2019, 14 International Tour alums won 16 Korn Ferry Tour tournaments, while in the 2018-19 PGA TOUR season, six alums—Adam Long, Martin Trainer, Keith Mitchell, Corey Conners, Pan and Nate Lashley—won six tournaments. Already in 2019-20, alums Sebastián Muñoz, Lanton Griffin and Tyler Duncan have won on the PGA TOUR, while Joaquin Niemann, winner in the season-opening A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier, played extensively on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica as an amateur.