As enthusiasm for golf has grown, men and women’s professional tours and tournaments have increased all over the world. Nevertheless, the American game remains the strongest from both the sporting and financial standpoints.
The Professional Circuits
The Professional Golf Association (PGA) Tour, which is primarily played in the United States, is the most important men’s tour in the world. Its European counterpart, the PGA European Tour, serves somewhat as a smaller compartment of the American tour. Although the European Tour takes place primarily in the old world, some tournaments are held outside of it.
Two French tournaments are included in the European Tour, namely the Saint-Omer Open and the French Open at the National (the oldest and most important golf event on continental Europe).
When it comes to women, the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Tour in the U.S. enjoys the highest profile and the highest winnings. For this reason, this is where the best players on the planet are to be found.
In Europe, women compete on the Ladies European Tour, which meets twice in France, at the Evian Masters and the French Open; a few tournaments are also held outside of Europe.
The four most prestigious men’s tournaments of the year are called the ‘major championships’ (or ‘majors’): the Masters, the U.S. Open, the British Open, and the PGA Championship.
All are part of the PGA Tour and PGA European Tour. For women, the four majors are:
- the Kraft Nabisco Championships,
- the LPGA Championship,
- the U.S. Open, and the British Open.
the Women’s British Open is the only one recognised simultaneously by the American and European Ladies’ tours.
Now recognised by the IOC (International Olympic Committee), golf will return to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, for the first time since the Olympics of 1900 and 1904.
The Ryder Cup, jointly organised by the PGA and the PGA Europe, is the most prestigious men’s team competition. First held in 1927, it originally pitted the best American players against their British counterparts. But given relentless domination by the Americans, the British team decided to include Irish players in 1973, then expanded the team to include continental Europeans in 1979.
The Ryder Cup is held every two years, alternating between Europe and the United States. France will be hosting the 2018 tournament.
The equivalent women’s team event is the Solheim Cup, which was first held in 1990. Since 1994, the President’s Cup has pitted the best American golfers against the rest of the world (excluding Europe).