Is the Road to the PGA Tour TOO difficult?

dacatalyst41

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I was having this conversation based on another thread and wanted to bring it to the forum. In basketball or football, you can essentially play in high school or college and if you play well, you can be drafted to play with the pros. You also have the option of trying to "walk on" with teams and play in developmental leagues where you are still compensated for playing.

So the question is...
Is the current path to making it to the PGA Tour too difficult, relative to the path to the elite level in other sports? Or does it make sense because it's an individual sport on not a team sport?
 

Ludin

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It makes complete sense due to being an individual sport and the payoff of actually making the tour. Now if they make a league with teams my answer would completely change.
 

ddec

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I think financially it's probably pretty damn difficult. Even if you make it to the tour, you aren't guaranteed to you make gobs and gobs of money. Flipside, you make it on a practice squad for an NFL team(for example), you are being paid to be a professional athlete. You go out and start your PGA Tour rookie season and miss the first 5 cuts, you are paying quite a bit to play two days of professional golf a week.
 

MWard

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I would say it is for the Korn Ferry Tour guys. That may be the hardest tour to advance from.
 

Bryndom

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I like the idea of Q school. I wish other sports had something similar, it would allow participants to really build their skill sets.

There are tournaments like opens where people can test themselves but for the normal tour, they have to manage the numbers or the tournaments would take forever
 

ddec

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I would say it is for the Korn Ferry Tour guys. That may be the hardest tour to advance from.
yup it's a long journey for them guys. It's why we see such emotion when a guy who has been out there for some time to get that 1 victory.
 

dacatalyst41

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I think financially it's probably pretty damn difficult. Even if you make it to the tour, you aren't guaranteed to you make gobs and gobs of money. Flipside, you make it on a practice squad for an NFL team(for example), you are being paid to be a professional athlete. You go out and start your PGA Tour rookie season and miss the first 5 cuts, you are paying quite a bit to play two days of professional golf a week.
I share these thoughts. I talked to a gentleman who tried to make the tour and he shared how difficult the financial burden was with these guys covering travel, lodging and everything involved just to be able to play and try to make the cut. Most amateurs can't play under the pressure of playing in front of crowds....add financial stress to that and the fun could disappear fast. It's a grind.
 

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I was having this conversation based on another thread and wanted to bring it to the forum. In basketball or football, you can essentially play in high school or college and if you play well, you can be drafted to play with the pros. You also have the option of trying to "walk on" with teams and play in developmental leagues where you are still compensated for playing.

So the question is...
Is the current path to making it to the PGA Tour too difficult, relative to the path to the elite level in other sports? Or does it make sense because it's an individual sport on not a team sport?
I think the hardest part of getting to the PGA tour as opposed to other sports is the financial investment it takes to get there. If not one of the top amateurs who receive sponsor exemptions and what not, you have to sponsor yourself or have some golf enthusiast pay your way into the mini tours. Entry into the mini tour tournaments are 10k plus a lot of times and someone I spoke to who considered it at one time needed probably 50
K just to guarantee entry to a few tournaments.

you don’t have to pay to be in the NBA per say. AAU and that kind of stuff costs money, but if you play overseas you get paid regardless of performance. If you are on a mini tour you ( or your donor) are the one paying.
 

jdtox

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What a great question. I think my answer is yes. Its definitely too hard. However I think they want it that way to keep it limited to the best of the best otherwise fields could be huge and events would take way too long to complete.
 

dacatalyst41

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I like the idea of Q school. I wish other sports had something similar, it would allow participants to really build their skill sets.

There are tournaments like opens where people can test themselves but for the normal tour, they have to manage the numbers or the tournaments would take forever
You make a great point on participant counts for tournaments and using Q school to manage that.
 

Bryndom

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You make a great point on participant counts for tournaments and using Q school to manage that.

I agree with yours on the financial investment required to make it. It would be nice if there was some medium area where the Korn Ferry tour players got compensated at least what it takes to participate plus a nice middle class level salary. Yes, PGA Tour should be compensated more but the gulf is too extreme right now for the majority of the grinders to really make it
 

MWard

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yup it's a long journey for them guys. It's why we see such emotion when a guy who has been out there for some time to get that 1 victory.
I looked it up because hey, nerd. Scoring average pre cut is 68.06. Driving distance leader is 335+
 

Snickerdog

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It is supposed to be hard, and it should be. The problem is you have to many guys competing for to few spots.
 

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I would say it is harder to go pro in baseball/football/basketball than golf based on the number of people that play that sport at a competitive level vs. the number of people who end up joining the top pro league for their respective sport.
 

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I share these thoughts. I talked to a gentleman who tried to make the tour and he shared how difficult the financial burden was with these guys covering travel, lodging and everything involved just to be able to play and try to make the cut. Most amateurs can't play under the pressure of playing in front of crowds....add financial stress to that and the fun could disappear fast. It's a grind.
I spent some time talking to a young man who tried to make the Tour. It's definitely a grind, and not for the faint of heart (or thin of the pocketbook). Just competing trying to get there is a huge financial investment, more than most people can bear without some kind of financial sponsors. We see the glory of the top players and it looks like a great gig, but the majority of the players are struggling and clawing to keep their heads above water. The guy I talked to definitely wasn't making a living at it, it was more like he was bleeding money in the process.


I agree with yours on the financial investment required to make it. It would be nice if there was some medium area where the Korn Ferry tour players got compensated at least what it takes to participate plus a nice middle class level salary. Yes, PGA Tour should be compensated more but the gulf is too extreme right now for the majority of the grinders to really make it
It really does seem like there's a big gulf on the Tour between the haves and the have-nots, with not a lot of middle ground. You're either in the penthouse or the outhouse, doesn't seem like many guys are settled in to where they're making a decent middle class living at it.
 

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With all that said, the road to the Tour is tough because the competition is so tough. There are a lot of very good golfers clamoring for those comparatively few spots, so the cream is going to rise to the top.
 

Bernoulli

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I think it’s fine. Getting there is hard; staying there is hard; winning is hard.
 

orchard53

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Nature of the game with the tournaments being 3-4 days. The spread in scoring averages from top to bottom is only a couple of strokes, so it's the ability to put together 3-4 days of great golf so you can make some money. If someone has the ability to have some streaks of good play, they will get there.
I think the Korn Ferry tour is so hard to move up from is that there are so many players being aggressive and taking more chances. On the PGA tour you see a lot of players on the weekend taking minimal risks so they can get a sizable paycheck.
 

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I would say it is harder to go pro in baseball/football/basketball than golf based on the number of people that play that sport at a competitive level vs. the number of people who end up joining the top pro league for their respective sport.
What am I missing with the math.
32 teams x 12 players per team in basketball (4-5 times that in others).
WAY WAY WAY less than that play on the pga tour each year.
 

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What am I missing with the math.
32 teams x 12 players per team in basketball (4-5 times that in others).
WAY WAY WAY less than that play on the pga tour each year.
53x31 for the NFL = 1643 players on rosters.
 

BuckNasty

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What am I missing with the math.
32 teams x 12 players per team in basketball (4-5 times that in others).
WAY WAY WAY less than that play on the pga tour each year.
Number of Kids/High School players flowing down to NFL/NBA/MLB, compared to much smaller size of kids/high school players in golf filtering down to PGA.
 

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It’s tough, but I think it ensures the right people are on the tour. Lowering the bar and adding additional spots makes it more difficult to hold a tournament even if it doesn’t affect the cut line.
 

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If we say the road starts in high school, the % that make it is this:

PGA - 0.17%
NFL - 0.16%
MLB - 0.18%
NBA - 0.08%

looks like most sports compare pretty well with each other in terms of difficulty ascending from high school to pro, with the exception of NBA that appears to have a much tougher road based on the numbers game.
 

Scorpion12

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I don't think the road to the PGA tour is too difficult. It needs to be so it can weed out the competition. Just like football does...

There are 32 NFL teams and each team has a finalized roster for the season of 53 players per year. Each team also has a practice squads of 10 players (pre-covid... in 2020 this was increased to 20 players) so... 32 X 53 = 1,696. 32 X 10 = 320. 1,696 + 320 = 2,016 players total in the NFL annually. This is not counting the players injured and not taking up a roster spot but that are still considered on a team.

At any given time there are 2,016 players in the NFL. Every year. They're considered the best of the best and a lot of them are. In MOST cases anyway. There are fans that will disagree with this.:LOL: Just ask them.

College football has something like 75,000 players. And a lot of them were the best of their high school. Again, not all but a lot of them were.

High school football has something like 1,000,000 plus players annually. And a good number of them were some of the best of their groups. Not all... but a good number.

They're fighting and hoping and trying to win a spot that only 2,016 players get to hold each year. And that's football. At the professional level.

I don't follow any other sport but I imagine the rest are similar... school teams, college teams, pros if the player is considered good enough.


Even with all of that, there are still players that get missed or overlooked or cut by teams. Sometimes that's based on 1 moment where the player has a chance to shine.
 

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