Current season, competition or edition:|
2016 Challenge Tour
|Director||Alain de Soultrait|
Based in Europe.|
Includes events outside Europe,
in Asia and Africa.
|Most titles||Iain Pyman (8)|
|Official website||Challenge Tour|
The Challenge Tour is the second-tier men's professional golf tour in Europe. It is operated by the PGA European Tour and, as with on the main European Tour and the European Seniors Tour, some of the events are played outside Europe. World ranking points are awarded for high finishes in Challenge Tour events. Most Challenge Tour events give 12 OWGR points to the winner, with those co-sanctioned by the European Tour earning 18 points. The Challenge Tour Grand Final gives 17 points to the winner.
The tour was introduced in 1986 and was initially called the Satellite Tour. The Order of Merit was introduced in 1989, with the top five players on it winning membership of the European Tour for the following season. The following year the tour was renamed the Challenge Tour. Up to 1993 the Challenge Tour rankings were based on each player's best several results, but since 1994 it has been a straightforward money list, with all results counting.
Players who are successful on the Challenge Tour qualify for membership of the European Tour the following year. Fifteen players earn direct promotion to the European Tour. Players finishing 16–45 may also gain qualification for occasional low-prize-money European Tour events, but can improve their status through European Tour Qualifying School. Players who win three Challenge Tour events in a season are fast-tracked onto the main tour immediately and are fully exempt the following season, similar to that of the US-based Web.com Tour.
One competitive level down from the Challenge Tour are four third-level developmental tours—the Alps Tour, the Pro Golf Tour, the PGA EuroPro Tour and the Nordic League, each of which is based in a different region of Europe. These circuits are now collectively known as the Satellite Tour. Each season the top five players from the Order of Merit of each of these tours win a place on the Challenge Tour for the following season. The Challenge Tour also has an annual qualifying school.
Challenge Tour Rankings winners
The PGA European Tour does track career earnings on the Challenge Tour. A ranking of career earnings would be of little value as a measure of success, since the objective of players on the tour is to leave it as soon as possible by winning promotion to the main tour.
Schedules by year
Originally, the Challenge Tour events were held in Western Europe. In 1991, several Central African events were added, of which the Kenya Open continues today, and the Zambia Open was last played in 2004. Also the Moroccan Golf Classic was held from 2002 to 2010. The Challenge Tour featured Latin American tournaments co-sanctioned with the Tour de las Américas from 2003 to 2012. Since 2011, the tour has added events in Asia, such as the Gujarat Kensville Challenge (India), National Bank of Oman Golf Classic, Challenge Tour Grand Final (Oman), Ras Al Khaimah Golf Challenge (Dubai) and Foshan Open (China).
The table below summarises the development of the tour since 1999, which was the year that the euro became the currency of record for the tour. Individual tournaments have purses fixed in a mixture of British pounds, euro and U.S. dollars, so year on year changes in the total prize fund reflect exchange rate fluctuations as well as prize fund movements in constant currencies.
|Year||Ranking tournaments||Total prize money (€)|
- List of golfers with most Challenge Tour wins
- List of golfers to achieve a three-win promotion from the Challenge Tour
Notes and references
- "OWGR Board Announces Adjustments To Ranking System". OWGR. 6 August 2014.
- "Challenge Tour Road To Oman". PGA European Tour.
- "Challenge Tour Schedule". PGA European Tour.
- "The Challenge Tour in numbers". PGA European Tour. 28 January 2011. Retrieved 2011-01-31.
- 2002 statistics include one abandoned tournament with a planned purse of €130,000.