One of the best things about betting on golf is the availability of the sport. You can pretty much guarantee that there will be a golf competition somewhere around world just about 52 weeks of the year. Whilst the majority of the bigger tours used to take time off in the past, many of them now actually run for most the year, with the quieter times being around December and early January.
This article will look at some of the bigger tours around the world and information on each. What’s so special about each tour is that they tend to target their own ‘little’ corner of the world, making golf one of the most accessible sports going.
The PGA Tour is probably the most iconic tour in golf, mainly because of the insane prize money that can be won each week. Often the tournament winner will walk away with a cheque well in excess of $1million and all the plaudits that come along with this. The tour is solely based in the US with tournaments played in a multitude of states across the country.
The tour started back in 1929, but it wasn’t until 1968 that the tour moved away from the PGA itself. Since then it’s gone on to create some of the biggest names in golf and now is the place where the majority of golfers from around the world want to ply their trade.
Their flagship event comes in the form of The Players Championship held at TPC Sawgrass. This venue also just so happens to be the headquarters for the tour and is widely regarded as one of the most iconic golf courses in the world.
In more recent times, the PGA Tour has included a money list event, commonly referred to as the FedEx Cup. This is basically a tournament leaderboard that runs throughout the season and amalgamates all the money won by the players and ranks them accordingly. As they reach the end of the season, four final play-off events are held for the top 125 players, before around 30 or so are axed each week, leaving the final 30 to play out for a staggering $10million winner’s cheque.
Even though these astronomical numbers are thrown around pretty off the cuff these days in golf, the PGA Tour actually does an awful lot of work for charity. One of the ways in which they have done this is by making every event on tour non-profit, along with the PGA Tour being a non-profit organisation as well. As a tour, they have managed to raise a staggering $1billion since 2005 alone with the PGA Tour itself managing to club together a reported $200million alone.
The European Tour is the flagship tour for the majority of European based players and was first founded in 1972 by a man called Neil Coles. It was Coles who decided that the talent in Europe needed a dedicated tour, like the Americans had with the PGA Tour, and so the European Tour was born.
Whilst the name suggest a European based tour, it far from restricts itself to just playing in Europe. Trips to Asia, Africa and of course, Europe are all destinations for this multi-cultural tour. Whilst some of the die-hard supporters of the European Tour think it should remain within European borders, there is no doubt that their affiliation with other regions around the world has increased exposure of the tour and allowed for tournaments to be much more competitive when compared with the PGA Tour.
There’s little doubt that the European Tour does play second fiddle to that of the US. The prize money on offer, for the most part, doesn’t compare. But that’s not to say that it’s at all shabby, however the million dollar paydays are generally pretty few and far between. Having said that, the last 5 winners of the European Tour money list have all bagged in excess of the €4million each over the course of the season.
Much like the PGA Tour, the Europeans also have their own money list of which they call The Race to Dubai. It works in pretty much the same way in that the amount of prize money won over the course of the season is added together with the top 100 players entering the final event in Dubai with $1.5million up to top for the winner. Additionally, a $7.5million prizepool is distributed between the leaderboards top 15 players.
Whilst people will state the majority of money is golf is on the PGA Tour, and to some extent they would be right, the European Tour is hardly going to leave you in hard times. The top 10 players in terms of all-time money lists have each made over €17million, which isn’t all too bad for a so called ‘second’ professional tour.
The Champions tour was designed for professionals over the age of 50 to play their own tour, away from that of the main tour. It’s based primarily in the US although there are one or two events dotted around in the UK, Canada and South Korea.
Whilst many see this as a way to bridge the gap between playing professionally and retirement, there is actually a lot more to the tour than meets the eye. One of the most staggering aspects of the Champions Tour is the money involved. Each year a purse of around $50milllion is distributed to 26 events on the tour, each posting up a prizepool of around $2million. This figure is actually more than some of the established European Tour events.
Whilst the seniors have had their own competitions since 1937, it wasn’t until 1980 that the tour was first put together. Qualifying for the tour is rather confusing to say the least, but basically all players who have won on the PGA Tour, Hall of famers and past winners of Champions Tour events via invite, are exempt. Players outside this are allowed, but they will have to go through qualifying, just like the PGA and European Tour.
What’s been interesting about the Champions Tour is that some players have been able to make a serious amount of money and almost have a second career from the tour. Whilst many of players who play didn’t play for the prizepool they do today when they were at their peak, they are still able to make a sizeable income from this tour. Hale Irwin, one of the games greats, has made over $26million form the Champions Tour alone and even though he has won over 80 professional titles in career, could have never amassed this amount from his professional playing days.
LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association)
The LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association) is the most prestigious female tour in the world. Since its introduction in 1950, the tour has gone from strength to strength and now boasts a multi-cultural feel to proceedings with events taking place around the world.
Whilst the majority of events are still held in the US the influx the tour has had from people around the world especially that of Asia, has almost forced the hand the LPGA to accommodate events in those countries. The 2014 calendar included events in Australia, Thailand, Singapore, Canada, England, France, China, Taiwan, Japan and Mexico.
As a result, it has allowed the LPGA to offer a much bigger purse for their players with the 2013 prize pool amassing almost $50million. In terms of the amount of money the men earn, the LPGA falls quite a way short, especially with prize money being cut from $60milllion to $41million between 2008 and 2010.
Having said that, the likes of Annika Sorenstam has made a very comfortable living indeed with over $22million in career earnings alone from the LPGA. The top 10 career earnings of all time have each made over $9million.