The majority of the U.S. professional golfers play on one of the two major tours, each of which is operated by its own organization and has slightly different rules for qualification to events and distribution of prize money. There are some players who play on both tours during a given year, and some who play on neither.
Professional golf tournaments are generally conducted in a stroke play format over 72 holes, which is four full rounds (4 days).
The first field usually has between 120 and 150 players, who will compete in the first two rounds in groups of three people, often matched to appeal to spectators’ preferences. The daytime groups will play the afternoon games on day 2, while the nighttime groups will play the morning games on day 3.
After 2 rounds there is a so called cut, typically the ~50 leading players and ties will move to the final rounds, whereas the others are out. The players are the matched in groups of two usually and the ones with the highest scores start early, while the leaders will hit the course last. On day 4 this will be rearranged depending on the aggregate score of day 3.
The winner is the player with the lowest aggregate score after four rounds. In the case of three- or more way ties, kicking out any players with a higher score than the rest if several leaders have a tied score.
The two tours are the PGA Tour, which is run by the PGA of America, and the Nationwide Tour, which is run by the Nationwide Corporation. The main difference between them is that many more events are staged by the PGA tour, both in this country and overseas. The top thirty money-winners from either tour are given an automatic entry to the PGA Championship, and a few other events as well.
The top five money-winners on each tour also receive membership on their respective tours for the following year, so long as they have fulfilled certain minimum requirements. The Nationwide Tour requires players to enter a minimum of 15 events in order to maintain their membership, while the PGA Tour only requires 10.
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Players can also earn their way onto the main tour by performing well enough on one of the smaller, regional tours. The most successful of these is the Web.com Tour, which was formed in 1990 as the Nike Tour and renamed in 2012. The top