What Is A PGA Tour Card? (All You Need To Know)

Becoming a PGA Tour player is the pinnacle of professional golf. To be a part of this elite group, professionals need to work their way into earning a prestigious PGA Tour Card.

A PGA Tour Card is what players earn to play on the PGA tour. However, being able to play in a PGA tour event does not always require a PGA Tour Card.

Given that there are many nuisances to PGA Tour Cards and what they mean for eligibility, there are a lot of questions that surround what having a PGA Tour Cards actually means.

In the article below, we’ll cover how many cards are available, how golfers earn a card, can players lose their card, and so much more.

If you are interested in learning all there is to know about PGA Tour Cards, keep reading below for a complete guide!

How Do Players Get Their PGA Tour Cards?

New players need to work their way into the PGA Tour. This happens by playing in Korn Ferry Tour, a developmental league for rising stars as well as a league for players kicked out of the PGA tour due to poor play. The top 30 players in the Korn Ferry Tour will earn their PGA Tour Cards.

Current PGA Tour Card holders keep their PGA Tour Card from winning PGA tournaments, placing highly in the FedEx Cup rankings, or through exemptions by hitting certain milestones. There are also medical exemptions which protect players with an injury from losing their tour status.

Winning on tour is the best way to get and keep a PGA Tour Card. A great example of this is the PGA Championship.

Players who win the PGA Championship receive a lifelong exemption to play in the tournament.

PGA Tournament Champions also secure a spot in the Masters, Open Championship and US Open for the subsequent 5 years along with a PGA Tour card for the next 5 years.  

Winning on tour is tough, so many players rely on FedEx Cup rankings to stay eligible.

FedEx Cup rankings take each players tournament performance to calculate their rankings, with wins and top finishes receiving a higher point value.

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Is There An Actual PGA Tour Card?

Yes, PGA Tour players get a physical PGA Tour Card when they make it on tour. However, PGA Tour players do not need to show their card to enter events.

Tournament officials will know before the event who has qualified to play.

So, what does a PGA Tour card look like? It is a small, rectangular plastic issued to professional golfers who have earned their playing privileges for the PGA Tour.

The card typically features the PGA Tour logo prominently displayed, along with the player’s name, and other relevant information such as the player’s tour status and the year in which the card is valid.

How Many PGA Tour Cards Are There?

The number of active PGA Tour players can vary by definition. The best way to look at it is the number of available tour cards each year.

125 golfers will maintain their PGA Tour Cards each year along with 30 players from the Korn Ferry Tour being promoted up into the PGA Tour.

This means that there are 155 active tour players during a given golf season.

Does this mean that only 155 players are able to play in a PGA Tour event?

Well, not exactly.  There are other ways to play on tour which we will cover in the next section.  

Do You Need A PGA Tour Card To Play In A PGA Event?

You do not need a tour card to play in a PGA sponsored event. Player can play into tournaments by winning Monday qualifiers or earn exceptions through sponsors.

Monday qualifiers are essentially a mini day tournament where the top finishers are allowed to play in the tournament.

These spots for these qualifiers are typically reserved for players right outside of qualifying for the tour such as up and coming Korn Ferry players or prior PGA Tour Card holders.

Special exemptions are very different from qualifiers. The tournament sponsors essentially can pick individuals to play in their event.

Past winners or a local PGA Pro may be invited to play without the proper qualifications to enter the event.

Can Players Lose Their PGA Tour Card?

The unfortunate reality is that every year PGA Tour player lose their eligibility. You may wonder who gets to keep their PGA Tour Card each year.

As we covered above, PGA Tour status is determined by FedEx standings, promotion from the Korn Ferry Tour, or by PGA Tour tournament wins.

Players in the top 125 of the FedEx Cup are eligible for a PGA Tour Card. Golfers who fall outside the top 125 must work their way back into good standing.

Players that finish 126–150 in the standings are given conditional status on tour and full status on the Korn Ferry Tour. These players can play in PGA tour events if spots are available in the field.

How Much Does A PGA Tour Card Cost?

There is a lot of money to be made on the PGA Tour. Earning a PGA Tour Card is a green light to make some serious cash if you have the nerves to compete.

Given this ability to earn, you might think that the PGA Tour would charge its players a premium for the privilege of playing, but this is not the case.

There is no cost to be a member of the PGA Tour. The PGA Tour makes its money from TV contracts and sponsorship, not membership dues.

The PGA wants to have the best players in the world in their events. Charging golfers an entry fee is nothing compared to the earnings they receive from their TV deals and event sponsors.

Check out our article on PGA Tour Expenses if you are interested in learning more about what it costs to be a tour player.

Final Thoughts

Qualifying for a PGA Tour Card is tough work. Promotion from the Korn Ferry Tour is almost as challenging as competing in the PGA.

Players need to be dedicated to the game to earn the right to play on tour.

Keeping a card is equally as tough. Players need to continually perform at a high level to keep their PGA Tour Card or win a major championship to ensure longevity on tour, both of which are monumental accomplishments.

Once a player gets on tour the winnings can be extraordinary.

The PGA Tour is truly the best of the best and so are the winnings. Its no wonder why players work their whole lives to get on tour.

Hopefully you liked this article and found it informative. Check out our other blog posts if you liked this one!

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