Report: PGA Tour developing college-to-pros pipeline
Field Level Mediaon
The PGA Tour is reportedly working on a program that will provide collegiate golfers a pipeline to professional tours while simultaneously incentivizing them to both remain in school and stay with their team through the completion of the collegiate season.
According to a story by Brentley Romine in the December issue of Golfweek, the Tour's plan would give the best golfers in college guaranteed status in one of a handful of tours, ranging from PGA Tour China to the PGA Tour.
The Tour currently does not have a system dedicated to directly placing collegiate golfers into professional tours.
"The PGA Tour has been working to develop a new program that will identify, prepare and transition top collegiate golfers to professional golf," the Tour told Romine in a statement. "This program will be designed to reward season-long collegiate play with varying levels of playing access to tours operated under the PGA Tour umbrella while upholding the principles and virtues of college athletics."
While no timetable for implementation is known, Romine reported that the Tour is working with its policy board, player advisory councils and other stakeholders for input on the program, as well asking for feedback from the NCAA and college coaches.
The Golf Coaches Association of America's annual convention is currently underway in Las Vegas.
The criteria for determining eligibility and ranking is also still being developed as, per the report, the Tour wants a system more dynamic than simply relying on the World Amateur Golf Ranking or other existing ranking systems.
The program will also give preference to golfers who stay in college in continued pursuit of their education.
"If a freshman was to turn pro, are they going to be eligible for this program? Likely not," an anonymous Tour official told Romine.
"This will hopefully change the landscape of college golf," the official continued. "If you look at other sports leagues, it's a little bit different. They have draft systems where players go directly to leagues and they are identified through their play in college. That sort of rough thinking, you know, 'Why doesn't golf have that?' ... This will hopefully be a solution to that problem."