The much-rumored Latin American professional tour supported by the PGA became a reality Thursday. The PGA TOUR Latinoamerica will consisting of 11 events starting in September of 2012 with stops in Mexico, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Peru.
The fields will consist primarily of top professionals from Latin America with the top money earners advancing on to the Nationwide Tour the following year. The PGA is also trying to get Official World Golf Ranking points attached to the new tour’s events. The OWGR will be used to determine eligibility for the 2016 Olympics.
"We see this as an opportunity to help in the further development of elite players across the region," said PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem, who called it a natural progression for golf.
"The timing is right, with South America hosting its first ever Olympic Games. The Latin American market has already produced several PGA Tour stars, and one of our goals for this tour is to help develop the Latin American stars of the future."
The Tour de las Americas, which was a key partner in the development of the new circuit, will play a series of events early in 2012 which will help establish the priority rankings for players once PGA Tour Latinoamerica kicks off next September.
The PGA Tour already stages events in Mexico and Puerto Rico while the Nationwide Tour has held events in Colombia, Panama and Mexico and will be holding its first event in Chile next year. The Challenge Tour, the primary developmental circuit for the European Tour, has sanctioned an event in South America since 2003 which has helped a number of players from the region gain membership on the European circuit. In recent years, the Canadian Tour has also co-sanctioned several events in Latin America.
This is the first new Tour started by the PGA since the Ben Hogan Tour, now known as the Nationwide Tour, was formed in 1990.