Just three weeks out from the start of the season at the WA PGA Championship in Kalgoorlie, the PGA Tour of Australasia will break new ground by moving from a monetary ranking to a points-based Order of Merit, the co-sanctioning of the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship and ISPS HANDA Australian Open with the DP World Tour providing the cornerstone to a 16-event season.
Open champion Cameron Smith, PGA TOUR winners Marc Leishman, Lucas Herbert and Cam Davis and two-time DP World Tour winners Min Woo Lee and Ryan Fox are just some of the names who will help to create the biggest summer of golf on Australian soil in many years.
On the back of increases in the prize money to a number of events towards the end of the 2021/2022 season, five tournaments have seen their prize purse bolstered further for the upcoming season.
The WA PGA, Vic PGA and Queensland PGA championships will each increase from $200,000 to $250,000, the Gippsland Super 6 goes from $137,500 in 2021 to $200,000 and the Australian PGA Championship will feature a record $2 million prize pool.
“These prize money increases are a result of significant improvements in commercial partnership revenues over the last year together with the longevity of our Strategic Partnership with the DP World Tour,” said PGA of Australia CEO Gavin Kirkman.
“This enables further investment into our tour to continue its growth and success.
“We have obviously been through a challenging period but this increase in investment in our tour will help to provide our players with a strong financial base from which to launch their careers.”
Changes to the Order of Merit are also designed to provide a more equitable platform for the best performers across the entirety of the PGA Tour of Australasia season.
With pathway opportunities to the DP World Tour and Korn Ferry Tour along with Major Championships and other key events on the world golf schedule again on offer, PGA Tour of Australasia through the Tournament Players Council worked through countless amounts of data to discuss and ultimately come up with the most equitable format, a format that reduces the ratio between the largest and smallest tournaments from approximately 12:1 to around 4:1.
With the Australian PGA Championship worth a record $2 million this year it was deemed necessary to reduce the impact that the disparity in prize purses had on the Order of Merit (with the smallest prize money event currently worth $162,500).
“Along with direct feedback from our players we examined a substantial amount of data with regards to how the prizemoney Order of Merit has previously been affected by the large prize purse discrepancies,” said PGA of Australia Tournaments Director Australasia, Nick Dastey.
“We consulted with the Tournament Players Council and they fully supported a move from money to points in regards to the Order of Merit ahead of the beginning of the 2022/2023 season.
“The points system is about finding a more equitable system that rewards good play relevant to the quality of field playing each event.”
Each of the 16 events across the season have been assigned a particular band of points based on the prize money on offer.
Band 4 events with at least $1 million in total prize money will distribute 4,000 points at the completion of the tournament, Band 3 events worth at least $750,000 will be assigned 3,000 points, Band 2 tournaments worth at least $400,000 will have 2,000 points on offer and Band 1 events worth at least $150,000 will have a bank of 1,000 points to hand out.
In practice, the winner of a Band 4 event will receive 760 points, Band 3 will be worth 570, Band 2 winners will receive 380 points and Band 1 winners will earn 190 points.
“Statistical analysis has shown that changing to a points system will not necessarily change the members who feature in the top 10 on the Order of Merit, however it can result in a significant shuffle in the final positions within the top 10,” Dastey added.
“With the extent of the exemptions that are now available through specific Majors, the DP World Tour and various qualifying schools it is essential that the Order of Merit system reflects the best performances over that specific season.”
2022/2023 ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia (total prize money in brackets)
Oct 13-16 CKB WA PGA Championship presented by TX Civil & Logistics ($250,000)
Oct 20-23 WA Open ($162,500)
Nov 10-13 Victorian PGA Championship ($250,000)
Nov 17-20 Queensland PGA Championship ($250,000)
Nov 24-27 Fortinet Australian PGA Championship ($2,000,000)
Dec 1-4 ISPS HANDA Australian Open ($1,700,000)
Dec 8-11 Gippsland Super 6 ($200,000)
Jan 26-29 TPS Victoria Hosted by Geoff Ogilvy ($200,000)
Feb 2-5 TPS Murray River in honor of Jarrod Lyle ($200,000)
Feb 16-19 TPS Sydney, Presented by Webex, Hosted by Braith Anasta ($200,000)
Feb 23-26 TPS Hunter Valley, Hosted by Jan Stephenson & Peter O’Malley ($200,000)
Mar 2-5 102nd New Zealand Open Presented by Sky Sport (TBA)
Mar 9-12 NZ PGA Championship (TBA)
Mar 16-19 Play Today NSW Open ($400,000)
Mar 30-Apr 2 PGA Tour of Australasia Season Finale ($200,000)
TBA Vic Open