The PGA Tour is the governing body of the major professional golf tours in the United States and features the biggest names in golf including Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh, Phil Mickelson, and Ernie Els. Originally, it was part of the PGA of America but broke off to become its own entity in 1968. There are three tours run by the PGA Tour: the PGA Tour (the top tour), the Champions Tour (for golfers age 50 and up), and the Nationwide Tour (developmental tour). The PGA Tour holds an annual tournament called the Qualifying Tournament. In this tournament golfers compete to play in the PGA Tour (earn their tour card) or the Nationwide Tour. Golfers must qualify to play on the PGA Tour each year, but there are multiple ways of obtaining exemptions from qualifying. Exemptions include a one-year exemption if a golfer places in the top 125 money-winners on the PGA Tour, winning a Tour event is equal to two-year tour card, winning a major championship provides a five-year tour card, and golfers with 20 or more wins on the Tour receive a lifetime tour card.
A PGA Tour season consists of 44 weeks of numerous tournaments including regular, invitational, alternate, major, and World Golf Championships (WGC). The average golfer only competes in about 20 to 30 events during the year. A typical tournament includes either 132, 144, or 156 golfers with only the top 70 advancing after the first two rounds of play, this is referred to as the “cut”. The remaining 70 players compete in the final rounds for the win and the prize money. The premier events of the Tour season are the four majors: The Masters, The U.S. Open, PGA Championship, and The Open Championship (British Open). It is important to note that the PGA Tour does not run any of the four majors but they are part of the Tour season. In 2007 the Tour launched a new feature to the season, the FedEx Cup. Golfers compete for points throughout the year and the top 144 point leaders then compete in a 4 event tournament at the end of the year to determine the champion. The 2007 winner of the FedEx Cup was Tiger Woods.