The two largest and longest operating developmental pro golf tours in the United States team to create the country’s first true nationwide third tier developmental tour
(Myrtle Beach, S.C.) – The NGA Pro Golf Tour and the All-American Gateway Tour are combining forces to form a joint venture that will create the nation’s largest developmental pro golf tour.
The union brings together the two largest and longest operating East and West coast developmental tours in the U.S. to form the country’s first true nationwide tour. The combining of the tours will help provide players at the developmental level with even more opportunities including adding value to current memberships, increased event exemptions and bonus payouts, a more player friendly schedule for those looking to compete in PGA and Web.com Tour qualifiers and pre-qualifiers, and a new player pool for those members competing year round.
The joint venture has been in the works since the beginning of 2014 with all new partners and potential sponsors excited about the future and the unlimited opportunities it creates. The new tour structure will have a much larger footprint, running from the West coast to the East coast, which has already allowed the tours to enter into preliminary negotiations with a potential umbrella naming rights partner. In addition, the tours are working closely with a group of investors and industry leaders to help bring significant funding and additional revenue streams for the consolidated tour model. Additional plans also include building partnerships and pursuing further consolidation with tours in the U.S., Mexico and the UK, similar to the recent partnership with Canada’s oldest and largest developmental series, The Great Lakes Tour.
For 25 years the NGA Pro Golf Tour has prided itself in developing professional golfers to compete at golf’s highest levels. Hundreds of NGA Tour alumni have moved up to golf’s premier tours where they have claimed countless victories including 16 Major Championships. The success of NGA Tour alumni is a testament to the model followed by the NGA Tour which consists of week-long 72-hole walking only events just like those found on golf’s premier tours. One only need look at recent results on golf’s major tours to see the affect the NGA Tour has had on the golfing world; 2013 NGA Tour Rookie of the Year Blayne Barber claimed the South Georgia Classic while fellow NGA Tour alums Jim Furyk, Martin Flores, and Jason Bohn finished second, third, and fourth respectively at the Wells Fargo. Professionals such as Keegan Bradley, Zach Johnson, and Bubba Watson all won on the NGA Tour before reaching golf’s pinnacle, becoming known as Major Champions.
What other tour in the U.S. could come close to making such claims of success by their alumni? Ask anyone who knows golf, especially those in the West, and one name immediately comes to mind - the All-American Gateway Tour (AAGT). Since 2001, AAGT has served over 3,500 players, paid out over $43 million in purses and currently boasts an impressive number of alumni (168) currently playing on the PGA and Web.com Tours.
“The current climate of developmental golf is very disconcerting. Players at our level are fragmented and playing for far less purse money than ever before. Last year there was over $10 million in purses paid and this year’s total will barely exceed $6 million. The current status will surely make it even more difficult for players to develop,” stated NGA President Robin L. Waters. “We believe strongly in and stand firmly committed to the concept of player and staff development and not the current pay for play gambling mentality that seems to be sweeping the industry. We believe consolidation with other tours across the country is the future at our level, along with the added player benefit of being able to conduct events closer to the PGA and Web.com Tour events and qualifiers. We feel fortunate to have found a partner and a potential sponsor who share our same goals. With this new tour structure, we will be able to combine resources and work toward getting the developmental level back on solid ground.”
“Since day one, the All-American Gateway Tour has been committed to providing standards in line with the PGA Tour to ensure our members are truly developed in an environment that mirrors what they can expect if they reach their ultimate goal,” said AAGT President Dusty Dean. “We have been focused on finding a partner that has that same mindset and is willing to help us deliver the standards our members deserve. I believe the team at the NGA has the understanding and passion for the game, as well as the shared vision of what AAGT has always wanted to create in the developmental tour industry.”
The alumni roster for the newly combined nationwide tour now includes: 2012 & 2014 Masters champion Bubba Watson; 2011 PGA Championship winner Keegan Bradley; 2010 PGA TOUR Player of the Year and 2003 US Open Champion Jim Furyk; 2007 Masters Champion Zach Johnson; two-time U.S. Open Champion Lee Janzen; British Open and PGA Champion John Daly; and recent PGA Tour winners like Michael Thompson, Ted Potter Jr, Gary Woodland, Russell Henley, Mark Wilson, George McNeill, Scott Stallings, Scott Piercy, and many more.
For more information about the exciting joint venture of the NGA Pro Golf Tour and the All-American Gateway Tour, visit www.ngatour.com or www.aagtgolf.com.