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The PGA European Tour

The PGA European Tour oversees three branches of tournaments that make up the whole, being the European tour, the Seniors Tour and the Challenge Tour which is a developmental tour programme. The most important of the three being the European Tour.

The first competition was the British Open held in 1860. As the years went by other 'continental opens' developed and was overseen by the PGA until 1972 when the PGA introduced the PGA European Tour. The introductory 1972 tour consisted of twenty tournaments of which eleven were played in the UK, one in Ireland and the other seven in Europe, and were named after the country in which they were played ie. Dutch, Swiss, German, Italian, French and Spanish - except for the last which was named the Madrid Open named after the city.

By 1982 the tour had grown to twenty seven, and saw the first tournament being played outside Europe, in Tunisia, and in 1984 the PGA European Tour saw it gain its independence from The Professional Golfers Assosciation.

Over the years the European Tour has seen the expansion and inclusion of tournaments on a co-sanctioned basis that includes tournaments played in China, Australia, South Korea and South Africa to name but a few, and this includes the four Majors and other US competitions due to players being lured to the more lucrative US tours. At this stage there is no world governing body for the golfing fraternity, although there is close co-operation with the various governing bodies internationaly.

Golf is driven by prize money, and comparison of US tour ($250 million) to European tour($150 million) will entice the top golfers to the more lucrative tournaments, but the breeding ground of the top golfers has been from the European circuit. Tiger Woods has dominated golf over the last decade in the US, where as from 2006 to 2009 has seen European golfers in the top ten grow from five to seven.

In 2009 the European circuit had grown to fifty three money events, and now also included tournaments played in new countries, with the season ending tournament being the Dubai World Championship, hosting sixty of the worlds top golfers competing for the winners prize of $2 million.

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