The Japan Golf Tour has joined forces with the DP World and PGA Tours by creating a formal pathway that will see its top three finishers in the 2022-23 season gain DP World Tour cards.
From there, Japan Golf Tour alumni can earn one of the ten PGA Tour cards awarded to the top finishers on the Race to Dubai rankings.
Some might have thought that the Japan Golf Tour was set to side with LIV Golf earlier in the year, with four Japanese players making up team Torque GC and strong rumours of Hideki Matsuyama - the first and only male Japanese Major winner - joining LIV.
All Japanese players from team Torque were surprisingly not in the field for the Boston event, and it was then confirmed that Matsuyama would be remaining with the PGA Tour. Matsuyama turned down a fee reported to be as high as $400m to join LIV, with the 2021 Masters winner said to be "torn between the money and his legacy." The PGA Tour also reportedly threatened Japan Golf Tour players with bans from the Zozo Championship and Korn Ferry Tour school if they teed it up in LIV events, according to a Sports Illustrated report.
With this new agreement, it is clear that any Japanese players appearing in the LIV Golf League events next year will be doing so at the expense of their Japan Golf, DP World and PGA Tour memberships.
The Japan Golf Tour will "work alongside the DP World Tour and PGA Tour on other key business areas, including strategic development and commercial growth, as well as further discussion about future areas of collaboration and support." The ISPS Handa - Championship debuts in Japan in April as part of the DP World Tour schedule.
Keith Pelley, Chief Executive Officer of the DP World Tour, said, “The Japan Golf Tour Organisation has produced many incredibly talented players over the years, and we are delighted to establish this formal pathway as part of golf’s meritocratic system, defining clear routes for players from the other international Tours to earn status on the DP World Tour and potentially go on to play on the PGA Tour.
“There are players from 34 different countries exempt on the DP World Tour in 2023 and, alongside our first tournament in Japan next April, today’s announcement further underlines our position as golf’s global Tour.”
Jay Monahan, Commissioner of the PGA Tour, said: “Japan has a long, storied history of producing world-class golf talent that deserves the opportunity to compete on the game’s highest stage, and today’s announcement is recognition of that. Over the past 30 years, 25 players have claimed at least one victory on both the PGA Tour and Japan Golf Tour, including current Japan Golf Tour Chairman Isao Aoki, who in 1983 became the first Japanese-born player to win on the PGA Tour when he holed out for eagle on the 72nd hole to win the Sony Open in Hawaii. His legacy continues today with eight-time JGTO winner Hideki Matsuyama and will now endure for years to come under this new pathway.”
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Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news, features, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Elliott has interviewed some huge names in the golf world including Sergio Garcia, Thomas Bjorn, Bernd Wiesberger and Scotty Cameron as well as a number of professionals on the DP World and PGA Tours. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-6. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!
Elliott is currently playing:
Driver: Titleist TSR4
3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max
Hybrid: TaylorMade SIM Max
Irons: Mizuno MP5 4-PW
Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58
Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
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