DP World & PGA Tours announce new pathway for Japan

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You can see why Japan is referred to as the Land of the Rising Sun at Tahara, Aichi, Japan. Getty Images

The DP World Tour and PGA TOUR have jointly announced a new landmark partnership with the Japan Golf Tour Organization (JGTO) that will see the top three players on the JGTO Order of Merit earn membership onto the DP World Tour for the ensuing season, beginning with the 2022-23 campaign.

The formal pathway further enhances the existing global pathway system, as the leading 10 players on DP World Tour’s Race To Dubai Rankings [in addition to those already exempt] will earn cards on the PGA TOUR, beginning with the 2024 season, as part of the operational joint venture partnership between the PGA TOUR and DP World Tour announced in June.

In addition to these new formal pathways, which also includes access to DP World Tour Qualifying School for leading players not otherwise exempt, the JGTO 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. Among those is a continued commitment to the ISPS HANDA – CHAMPIONSHIP, which is set to make its debut on the DP World Tour schedule next April 20-23, 2023, at PGM Ishioka GC in Omitama, Japan.

Keith Pelley, Chief Executive Officer of the DP World Tour, said, “The Japan Golf Tour Organization 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.”

Isao Aoki, Chairman of the Japan Golf Tour Organization, said, “We are proud of the rich tradition the Japan men’s golf tour has established over the last 40 years, and this development is the next step in the journey of our organization. Our players have made significant contributions to the global game since our tour’s inception in 1973, and we are excited that the next class of Japanese players will soon be able to reap the rewards that their predecessors helped create for them. We are looking forward to working with both the PGA TOUR and DP World Tour on the next era of professional golf development in Japan.”

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