The Difference Between the PGA of America and PGA Tour

February 18, 2009

In a recent article, Stan Awtrey details the 1968 split of professional golf into two distinct organizations, a professional golfers tournament division — The PGA Tour — and a golf professionals division whose focus is on teaching and growing the game — the PGA of America.

In the simplest terms, the PGA of America is your local golf course professionals and the PGA Tour is the professional golfers you see on TV every weekend. However, there is much more to it and other golf entities that must be included, so below we’ve explained the difference between these organizations.

PGA of America
The PGA of America, founded in 1916, is a not-for-profit organization that is made up of local club and teaching professionals at golf courses throughout the country. It is divided into 41 sections spanning across the U.S., including Northeast Ohio’s section — the Northern Ohio PGA. Each section’s focus is on growing the game through teaching and working closely with amateurs. PGA of America sections organize local junior golf tours, and host section tournaments at area courses for local amateurs and professionals to compete against one another.

The PGA of America also owns and operates four major golf championships, including:

  • The Ryder Cup
  • The PGA Championship
  • The PGA Grand Slam of Golf
  • The Senior PGA Championship (coming to Canterbury Golf Club on May 21-24).

PGA Tour
Separated from the PGA of America in 1968, The PGA Tour operates as the “Tournament Players Division” of professional golf. If you are watching Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson or Padrig Harrington on a Sunday, and it is not a Major Championship, it is probably a PGA Tour event.

The PGA Tour hosts 47 events annually and is made up of three tours: The PGA Tour, the Champions Tour — for those professionals over the age of 50, and the Nationwide Tour — for those professionals who have not qualified for their Tour card or did not play well enough to remain on the Tour.

Other Professional Golf Organizations
Other organizations also play vital roles in professional golf. The United States Golf Association (USGA), with their headquarters in Far Hills, N.J., oversees the national championships (U.S. Open, U.S. Senior Open, U.S. Amateur, etc.) and administers the Rules of Golf. The Augusta National Golf Club plays host to the Masters Tournament. The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, Scotland, oversees the British Open and administers the world’s golf rules jointly with the USGA.

The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) is the longest-running women’s sports association in the world.  Founded in 1950, the organization has grown from its roots as a playing tour into a non-profit organization involved in every facet of golf. The LPGA Tour and the LPGA Teaching & Club Professionals (T&CP) comprise the backbone of what has become the premier women’s sports organization in the world today.  Headquartered in Daytona Beach, Fla., the LPGA maintains a strong focus on charity through:

  • Its tournaments
  • Its grassroots junior and women’s programs
  • Its affiliation with Susan G. Komen For The Cure
  • The formation of The LPGA Foundation

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Golf Legend and Senior PGA Champion Charlie Sifford Honored in Golf Channel Documentary

February 11, 2009
1975 Senior PGA Champion Charlie Sifford

1975 Senior PGA Champion Charlie Sifford

Tonight (Feb. 11) at 9:00 p.m., Golf Channel will air the special, “Uneven Fairways.” Narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, this 60-minute documentary will reveal the story of the little-known, but rich history of African-Americans who had the courage to stand up for their rights and pave the way for future stars of golf.

Referred to by many as the Jackie Robinson of golf, Charlie Sifford became the first African-American to break professional golf’s color barrier. He endured threats, mistreatment and racial abuse as he challenged and overcame the “Caucasian only” clause of the PGA of America, and later became the first card-holding member of the Tour in 1961.

Prior to joining the PGA, Sifford, sporting his ever-present cigar, won the UGA National Negro Open six times between 1952 and 1960, and the 1957 Long Beach Open, which included some well-known Caucasian players. After joining the PGA Tour, he went on to win two official money events — the 1967 Greater Hartford Open Invitational and 1969 Los Angeles Open, and was among the top 60 money winners on the PGA Tour between 1960 and 1969.

In 1975, Sifford made history again when he won the PGA Seniors’ Championship, known today as the Senior PGA Championship. After the final round at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla., Sifford and Fred Wampler were tied at 8-under-par, 280, forcing a playoff. On the first playoff hole, Sifford sunk a 22-foot putt to become the first African-America to have his name etched on senior golf’s most prestigious and historic prize, the Alfred S. Bourne Trophy.

After retiring from the game of golf in 2004, Sifford received an honorary degree from the University of St. Andrews as a Doctor of Law in 2006. He also became the first African-American to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

We are honored to have Charlie Sifford, a resident of Highland Heights, play a significant role in the 2009 Senior PGA Championship. Throughout his career he has truly been a pioneer, blazing a path few dared to travel, and he continues to be an inspiration to all.

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Sneak Peek at Upcoming Blog Post

February 5, 2009

With the 2009 Senior PGA Championship now only 104 days away and counting, we wanted to give you a sneak peek at some of the topics we’ll be covering on this site over the next three-plus months.

Our goal is to provide you with a unique behind-the-scenes look at the 2009 Senior PGA Championship — the side of a professional golf Major that most do not get to see.

So, in addition to being your source for breaking news about the Championship, we will:

  • Discuss the setup and planning that goes into a PGA Major Championship
  • Detail the rich history of Canterbury and the PGA
  • Highlight opportunities on how you can get involved
  • Interview Canterbury and Senior PGA Championship officials
  • Call attention to the Champions Tour players to watch leading up to the Championship
  • Provide useful tips to attendees, such as the best parking locations, prime spots on the course to see the most action, and where you can stand to get an up-close and personal view of the players

To make sure we’re posting the information you’re most interested in, please send us topics you’d like to read or learn more about. We need your feedback to make sure we’re posting the most useful content possible.

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