The PGA Tour and DP World Tour announced a new partnership overnight with the Japan Golf Tour Organisation.
According to a joint press release, the top three players on the JGTO Order of Merit will earn membership onto the DP World Tour for the ensuing year, beginning with the 2022-2023 season. Additionally the JGTO will work with both circuits on business development areas, highlighted by a commitment to the ISPS Handa Championship, which is set to make its debut on the DP World Tour schedule next April at PGM Ishioka Golf Club in Omitama, Japan.
Founded in 1973, the JGTO boasts the third-largest purses in professional golf. Kazuki Higa, ranked 73rd in the world, is the tour’s reigning money-winner.
“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,” said PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan. “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.”
Added Aoki: “We are proud of the rich tradition the Japan men’s golf tour has established over the past 40 years, and this development is the next step in the journey of our organisation.”
The news comes months after the PGA Tour and DP World Tour strengthened their strategic alliance in the threat posed by the emergence of LIV Golf. As part of the alliance, the leading 10 players on DP World Tour’s Race To Dubai Rankings, in addition to those already exempt, will earn PGA Tour cards beginning with the 2024 season.