PGA Tour Champions

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PGA Tour Champions
Current season, competition or edition:
Current sports event 2016 PGA Tour Champions
Sport Golf
Founded 1980
Inaugural season 1980 (as Senior PGA Tour)
Country United States
& international
Most titles United States Hale Irwin (45 wins)[1]
TV partner(s) Golf Channel
Official website PGA Tour Champions

PGA Tour Champions (formerly the Senior PGA Tour and the Champions Tour) is a men's professional senior golf tour, administered as a branch of the PGA Tour.

History and format

The Senior PGA Championship, founded in 1937, was for many years the only high-profile tournament for golfers over 50. The idea for a senior tour grew out of a highly successful event in 1978, the Legends of Golf, which featured competition between two-member teams of some of the greatest older golfers of that day. The tour was formally established in 1980 and was originally known as the Senior PGA Tour until October 2002. The tour was then renamed the Champions Tour through the 2015 season, after which the current name of "PGA Tour Champions" was adopted.

Of the 26 tournaments on the 2010 schedule, all were in the United States except for the Senior British Open, a tournament in the Dominican Republic that started in 2008, and tournaments in Canada and South Korea starting in 2010. The guaranteed minimum official prize money is $51.5 million over 26 tournaments, with a record average purse of $1.98 million per event;[2] slightly higher than the 2008 prize money of $51.4 million over the same number of events.[3] The total prize money and number of events, however, are down from previous years—for example, the 2007 tour offered a total of $55.2 million over 29 events.[4]

Most of the tournaments are played over three rounds (54 holes), which is one round less than regular professional stroke play tournaments on the PGA Tour. Because of this and having smaller fields (81 golfers), there are generally no "cuts" between any of the rounds. However, the five senior majors have a full 72 holes (four rounds) with a 36-hole cut. A golfer's performances can be quite variable from one round to the next, and playing an extra round increases the likelihood that the senior majors will be won by leading players.

Through the 2015 season, the Charles Schwab Cup was a season-long points race. Points were given to players who finished in the top 10. One point was earned for each $1,000 won (i.e. $500,000 = 500 points) with majors counting double. From the Cup's inception in 1990 through 2015, the top 30 players competed in the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship, which was contested over four rounds and where all contestants earned points. The top five finishers in the points race earned annuities.

In 2016, the format of the Charles Schwab Cup was radically changed to a playoff-style format similar to that used for the FedEx Cup on the main PGA Tour. Qualification for the playoffs is now based on money earned during the PGA Tour Champions season. The top 72 players on the money list automatically qualify for the first playoff event, the PowerShares QQQ Championship. Additionally, if one or more golfers finish in the top 10 in the final non-playoff event, the SAS Championship, and are not in the top 72 on the money list entering the playoffs, the highest such finisher in the SAS Championship will also receive a playoff place. The playoffs operate on a points system, with each qualifying player receiving a points total equal to the money earned on the season. Points during the first two playoff events, the QQQ Championship and Dominion Charity Classic, are also based on money earned, except that the winner of each of those events receives double points. The playoff field is cut to 54 for the Dominion Charity Classic, and finally to 36 for the Charles Schwab Cup Championship. After the Dominion Charity Classic, the field's points are reset so that each of the remaining 36 players can theoretically win the Charles Schwab Cup, and that each of the top five players can clinch the Charles Schwab Cup by winning the final event.[5]

In 2006, the Champions Tour Division Board of the PGA Tour organization voted to allow players the option to use golf carts during most events on the tour. The five major championships and certain other events, including pro-ams, are excluded.

Exemptions and qualifying

Current PGA Tour Champions competitor and TV golf analyst Bobby Clampett has called the process for determining the field in tour events "the most complicated system known to man," and added that "[n]ot a single player even understands it fully."[6]

Clampett attempted to explain the process in a 2011 post on his blog. Standard tour events—apart from invitationals and majors, which have their own entry criteria—have a field of 78 (currently 81). The first 60 places in the field are filled as follows:[6]

  • The top 30 players, not otherwise exempt, who finished in the top 50 of the previous year's PGA Tour Champions money list.
  • Up to 30 players who are in the top 70 of the all-time combined PGA Tour and PGA Tour Champions money list.

This leaves 18 places:[6]

  • Members of the World Golf Hall of Fame eligible by age.
  • Winners of PGA Tour Champions events in the previous 12 months.
  • At the start of the season, 5 players from the previous year's PGA Tour Champions Qualifying Tournament, in order of finish. During July, this category changes to include all non-exempt players based on the season's money list.
  • Previously exempt players coming off medical exemptions.
  • Top four players in their first two years of age eligibility with multiple PGA Tour wins.
  • One spot for the highest finisher, not already exempt, within the top 10 of the previous week's tournament. Note, however, that a top-10 finish in a regular tournament does not qualify a player for a major.[7] In another quirk, a top-10 finish in a major does not qualify a player for the next tournament on the schedule, even if it is a regular tournament.[7]
  • Up to 5 spots for sponsor's exemptions, but subject to reduction or elimination if the previous categories fill out the field.
  • Up to 4 spots for Monday qualifiers, also subject to reduction or elimination

2016 schedule

2015 money leaders

This lists the final money leaders for the 2015 season.

Rank Player Country Events Prize money ($)
1 Bernhard Langer  Germany 19 2,340,288
2 Jeff Maggert  United States 17 2,240,836
3 Colin Montgomerie  Scotland 17 2,069,169
4 Billy Andrade  United States 18 1,533,919
5 Joe Durant  United States 21 1,445,956
6 Kevin Sutherland  United States 16 1,233,715
7 Tom Lehman  United States 20 1,164,878
8 Michael Allen  United States 20 1,152,625
9 Esteban Toledo  Mexico 20 1,133,612
10 Scott Dunlap  United States 18 1,111,250

There is a full list on the PGA Tour's website here.

Money winners and most wins leaders

Players who lead the money list on PGA Tour Champions win the Arnold Palmer Award.

Year Money leader Earnings ($) Most wins
2015 Germany Bernhard Langer 2,340,288 4: Jeff Maggert
2014 Germany Bernhard Langer 3,074,189 5: Bernhard Langer
2013 Germany Bernhard Langer 2,448,428 3: Kenny Perry
2012 Germany Bernhard Langer 2,140,296 2: Michael Allen, Roger Chapman, Fred Couples,
David Frost, Fred Funk, Bernhard Langer,
Tom Lehman, Willie Wood
2011 United States Tom Lehman 2,081,526 3: John Cook, Tom Lehman
2010 Germany Bernhard Langer 2,648,939 5: Bernhard Langer
2009 Germany Bernhard Langer 2,139,451 4: Bernhard Langer
2008 Germany Bernhard Langer 2,035,073 3: Bernhard Langer, Eduardo Romero
2007 United States Jay Haas 2,581,001 4: Jay Haas
2006 United States Jay Haas 2,420,227 4: Jay Haas, Loren Roberts
2005 United States Dana Quigley 2,170,258 4: Hale Irwin
2004 United States Craig Stadler 2,306,066 5: Craig Stadler
2003 United States Tom Watson 1,853,108 3: Craig Stadler
2002 United States Hale Irwin 3,028,304 4: Bob Gilder, Hale Irwin
2001 United States Allen Doyle 2,553,582 5: Larry Nelson
2000 United States Larry Nelson 2,708,005 6: Larry Nelson
1999 United States Bruce Fleisher 2,515,705 7: Bruce Fleisher
1998 United States Hale Irwin 2,861,945 7: Hale Irwin
1997 United States Hale Irwin 2,343,364 9: Hale Irwin
1996 United States Jim Colbert 1,627,890 5: Jim Colbert
1995 United States Jim Colbert 1,444,386 4: Jim Colbert, Bob Murphy
1994 United States Dave Stockton 1,402,519 6: Lee Trevino
1993 United States Dave Stockton 1,175,944 5: Dave Stockton
1992 United States Lee Trevino 1,027,002 5: Lee Trevino
1991 United States Mike Hill 1,065,657 5: Mike Hill
1990 United States Lee Trevino 1,190,518 7: Lee Trevino
1989 New Zealand Bob Charles 725,887 5: Bob Charles
1988 New Zealand Bob Charles 533,929 5: Bob Charles, Gary Player
1987 United States Chi Chi Rodriguez 509,145 7: Chi Chi Rodriguez
1986 Australia Bruce Crampton 454,299 7: Bruce Crampton
1985 Australia Peter Thomson 386,724 9: Peter Thomson
1984 United States Don January 328,597 4: Miller Barber
1983 United States Don January 237,571 6: Don January
1982 United States Miller Barber 106,890 3: Miller Barber
1981 United States Miller Barber 83,136 3: Miller Barber
1980 United States Don January 44,100 1: Roberto DeVicenzo, Don January,
Arnold Palmer, Charlie Sifford

Multiple money list titles

The following players have won more than one money list title through 2015:

Leading career money winners

The table shows the top ten career money leaders on PGA Tour Champions through the 2015 season.

Rank Player Country Earnings ($)
1 Hale Irwin  United States 26,960,948
2 Gil Morgan  United States 20,566,190
3 Bernhard Langer  Germany 17,905,033
4 Jay Haas  United States 16,334,660
5 Tom Kite  United States 16,082,979
6 Dana Quigley  United States 14,865,518
7 Bruce Fleisher  United States 14,862,031
8 Tom Watson  United States 14,633,412
9 Larry Nelson  United States 14,512,526
10 Jim Thorpe  United States 13,909,756

There is a full list on the PGA Tour's website here. The PGA Tour also publishes a list of PGA Tour Champions players' total career earnings on its three tours here. The top two players on that list are Vijay Singh and Davis Love III, who respectively became eligible for the circuit then known as the Champions Tour in February 2013 and April 2014. Singh has won a total of $69.8 million, but only played in six Champions Tour events in his first three years of eligibility, earning just over $400,000 on that tour.[8] Love has won $44.2 million in all, but only played in five Champions Tour events in his first two years of eligibility, earning slightly under $110,000; he won an event on the regular PGA Tour in 2015.[9] Among those who have played at least one full season on PGA Tour Champions, Kenny Perry is the all-time leader, with a total of $39.1 million, including slightly under $7 million in Champions Tour earnings since becoming eligible in October 2010.

See also


  1. "Career wins". PGA Tour Champions. Retrieved January 15, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Champions Tour announces schedule for 2010". PGA Tour. November 24, 2009. Retrieved January 15, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Champions Tour releases schedule for 2009". PGA Tour. November 12, 2008. Retrieved January 15, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Champions Tour unveils schedule of 29 official events for 2008". PGA Tour. June 28, 2007. Archived from the original on December 2, 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Champions Tour announces 2016 schedule and format for inaugural Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs" (Press release). PGA Tour. November 11, 2015. Retrieved April 23, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Clampett, Bobby. "Insight Into the Champion's (sic) Tour Exemption Process". Retrieved September 9, 2012. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |work= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. 7.0 7.1 Rubenstein, Lorne (September 12, 2011). "Rutledge Embraces Vagabond Life of Champions Tour". Retrieved September 9, 2012. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |work= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Vijay Singh Career Summary". PGA Tour. Retrieved November 29, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Davis Love III Career Summary". PGA Tour. Retrieved November 29, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links