The European PGA Tour officially began back in 1972 and natural progression over the years has seen it develop into a major attraction, not only on the European continent, but across the world as well. Europe was the hotbed of the first professional golf action, with the first ever stroke play event open to what was a big field of professionals back then. The now world famous Open Championship, was first held back in 1860. Currently one of the prestigious four Majors in golf, that first event was open only to professionals and that mean there was a field of just eight. After many more years growing the stature and expansion of the European Tour, everything started to really come into the professional era in 1972.

 

It was in that year that The Professional Golfers’ Association announced the launch of the PGA European Tour, ready to take full advantage of extra monies and interest coming in from television. In its infancy the Tour only took in six months of the year, with the majority of its events being held in the British Isles, where the game was really developed. In that first season, the European Tour consisted of just twenty tournaments and only seven of them were hosted in continental Europe. Those humble beginnings are a far cry for the expansive professional Tour that the European PGA hosts currently. In co-sanctioned events now, the European PGA Tour takes in Asia, Australasia and Africa as well, the former growing in stature all the time.

 

Back in 1988, the European Tour included the three US Majors into its fold, importantly meaning for European Tour members, that any prize money picked up on the big North American events would count towards the European Order of Merit. The Order of Merit was the top honour for European PGA Tour golfers over the course of the season, monies earned from sanctioned tournaments on the schedule, determining places in the Order of Merit. The more money won, the closer to the top of the list a player would be. It was a proof of consistent golf over a season.

 

This has now evolved into the Race To Dubai, which replaced the Order of Merit in 2009. This shook up the Order of Merit, introducing an end of season tournament where massive money would be played for. With the top player on the Order of Merit winning a bonus, the top fifteen on the list would also take a share of a huge purse. Further money was introduced for the top sixty on the list who would qualify for the Dubai World Championship, one of the richest golf events anywhere in the world. The winner of the Race To Dubai currently receives a ten year exemption, while the Dubai World Championship winner gets a five year exemption.

 

For the 2013 season, the European PGA Tour decided to restructure the end of the season, taking initiative from the PGA’s FedEx Cup Playoffs. For the first time there will be a final series of four events for qualifying players, culminating still in the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai. The current European PGA Tour season all fits into one calendar year. This was a change as it used to start late in the previous year. However, a restructuring for 2012 made the season actually coincide with the calendar year. Busy members on the European PGA Tour have around fifty tournaments now to chose from over the season, including the three American Majors and co-sanctioned events across the world.