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Nine Holes on the Nationwide Tour

Aug. 11, 2006     By     Comments (4)

Take a peek at golf's version of the minor leagues. This is where aspiring young players and Champions Tour hopefuls go to get used to the heat of competition.

ProFilesThe Nationwide Tour has become a clearinghouse for the world's best players. While not every player who plies his trade on the Nationwide Tour makes it to the big time, many of them go on to successful careers on the PGA Tour.

Excellent events in their own right, purses have gotten bigger and the level of competition better in recent years. Many PGA Tour professionals would tell you that the talent gap between the PGA and Nationwide Tours has shrunk dramatically, making the Nationwide Tour the best place to hone your skills for the PGA Tour.

Nationwide Tour LogoHole One
The Nationwide Tour began in 1990 with 30 events and $3 million in total prize money. While this was a humble beginning, it proved to be an important jump start for many PGA Tour professionals.

Hole Two
Originally created to provide a place for aspiring PGA Tour players and players needing to prepare for the Champions Tour, the Nationwide Tour has become a clearing-house for successful players. Special exemptions are given to former PGA Tour winners who are 48 or 49 years old to play on the Nationwide Tour so that they may prepare for the Champions Tour.

Hole Three
The first Nationwide Tour event was won by Mike Springer and the leading money winner was Jeff Maggert ($108,644). Springer went on to win three more Nationwide events. He won two PGA Tour events in 1994 and is currently struggling to play his way back onto the PGA Tour. Maggert won the Ben Hogan Knoxville Open and the Ben Hogan Buffalo Open and captured player of the year honors before taking his game to the PGA Tour.

Hole Four
Players have been highly successful crossing over from the Nationwide to PGA Tour. Graduates from the Nationwide Tour have won over 150 PGA Tour events.

Hole Five
Notable money list winners include Zach Johnson in 2003 ($494,882), Chad Campbell in 2001 ($394,552), Chris Smith in 1997 ($225,201), Stewart Cink in 1996 ($251,699), and Tom Lehman in 1991 ($141,934).

Hole Six
First called the Hogan Tour, it was renamed the Nike Tour in 1993, the Tour in 2000, and received its current name when Nationwide Insurance purchased naming rights in 2003.

Hole Seven
Currently purses range from $450,000 to $750,000, or roughly one tenth of those paid out on the PGA Tour.

Hole Eight
Unlike the PGA Tour where the cut is for the top 70 and ties, the Nationwide Tour cut comes at the top 60 and ties. Just like the PGA Tour, Nationwide events are based on a four-day 72-hole tournament.

Hole Nine
The Nationwide Tour is an excellent proving ground for aspiring PGA Tour players. Ernie Els, Jim Furyk, David Duval, David Toms, Stuart Appleby, and John Daly all arrived on the PGA Tour through the Nationwide Tour.

Photo Credit: © Andy Lyons/Getty Images.

Posted in: ProFiles Comments (4)


  1. That's a cool article. I wish I would start watching more of the Nationwide Tour, but I just can't stay interested when I start watching it.

    I also want to say that I liked it a lot more when it was named the Nike Tour. It sounded so much cooler. The Nationwide Tour is twice as cool as the Buy.Com Tour, but nothing touches the Nike Tour.

    Good article Jeff.

  2. Jeff says:

    The quality of the Nationwide Tour is up there but I notice that Nationwide players aren't as precice with shots into the green for instance.

    They've had there moments with Jason Gore winning three times and their alumni list is pretty impressive.

    Thanks for the kudos.

  3. allin says:

    I go to the Cox Classic every year. I have been to several PGA tour events in different locations. The only difference visible to my level of golfer is you see a few more loose shots, leading to doubles, and putting doesn't seem as consistent as what I have seen at big tour events.

  1. [... The Nationwide Tour has become a clearinghouse for the world's best players. While not every player who plies his trade on the Nationwide Tour makes it to the big time, ...]

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