It was a veritable who’s who of PGA TOUR Latinoamérica and PGA TOUR Canada alums who won Korn Ferry Tour tournaments in 2022, with a few PGA TOUR alumni wins sprinkled in (we’re looking at you, Tony Finau).
With PGA TOUR Latinoamérica’s 2022-23 season already underway, its wrap-around schedule getting an early start, in December 2022, players are hoping to become the next Brandon Matthews, Harrison Endycott, Tyson Alexander, Will Gordon or Robby Shelton—all former International Tour players and Korn Ferry Tour winners in 2022. They’re all, incidentally, now PGA TOUR members playing alongside Finau. Even Carl Yuan and Marty Dou, proud alums of PGA TOUR Series-China, which eventually shut down due to the global pandemic, walked away a season ago with big trophies and PGA TOUR membership.
Yes, players are recognizing the PGA TOUR’s pathway tours are providing, well, a path to the PGA TOUR, and they’re using the Tours and what they offer to their full advantage.
In 2023, PGA TOUR Canada returns for a second consecutive season, its eighth overall, after the global pandemic prevented it from playing in 2020 and 2021. Meanwhile, PGA TOUR Latinoamérica moves into its second decade of professional excellence in Latin America.
PGA TOUR Canada
In 2019, in London, Ontario, Patrick Fishburn won the season ending tournament, and PGA TOUR Canada crowned Paul Barjon as its Player of the Year as the season’s best performer. It then sent Barjon and four others to the Korn Ferry Tour. The future looked bright. Fast forward 30 months and there was a bit of trepidation. How would the 2022 PGA TOUR Canada season transpire after not contesting an event for 990 days, especially as the Tour moved from tracking players by money earned to a points-based system, with Fortinet Cup the ultimate prize.
Any anxiety Tour executives may have felt quickly disappeared as Scott Stevens put on a show at the Royal Beach Victoria Open, winning his first Tour title and bringing back PGA TOUR Canada after that two-season hiatus.
Stevens was one of nine winners in 2022 in 11 tournaments on the 12-tournament schedule—a deluge of rain washed out Saskatchewan’s Elk Ridge Open—with Canada’s Wil Bateman the only player to make the cut in every tournament. He punctuated his season with a win at the final event of the year, the Fortinet Cup Championship, that earned him the tournament trophy, the Fortinet Cup and Player of the Year honors that went with it.
“Our first Fortinet Cup season was an unqualified success, and the players really gravitated toward earning points knowing that the Fortinet Cup was such a significant prize,” said Scott Pritchard, PGA TOUR Canada Executive Director.
PGA TOUR Canada’s eighth season will commence in June, but with a twist. The schedule will purposely start a week later than normal to accommodate those competing at the NCAA Championship the week before. In 2022, several players missed the Royal Beach Victoria Open because they were still competing for their colleges. Not so in 2023, and that’s a key point as PGA TOUR University will once again send recent college players to PGA TOUR Canada as they begin their professional careers.
A year ago, PGA TOUR University alums—college amateurs who accrued enough points to earn PGA TOUR Canada membership— immediately made an impact. Noah Goodwin (SMU) joined Bateman as a two-time winner, while Parker Coody (Texas) tied a PGA TOUR scoring record when he finished at 27-under, winning the CentrePort Canada Rail Park Manitoba Open.
The anticipation is PGA TOUR University players, returning players and others, including those from international locales, will again take full advantage of PGA TOUR Canada as the path they take to get to their ultimate destination, the PGA TOUR. One of those tournaments, returning for a second season, will be the CentrePort Canada Rail Park Manitoba Open, the 2022 PGA TOUR Canada Tournament of the Year. As is always the case, the Tour will move back and forth throughout the country, along with another visit to the U.S., after the successful CRMC Championship presented by Gertens in Brainerd, Minnesota.
The Tour will announce its 2023 schedule of tournaments in early 2023.
PGA TOUR Latinoamérica
No player had more significance in the growth of golf in Latin America than Argentina’s De Vicenzo. De Vicenzo, one of golf’s greatest winners—with 229 career worldwide titles—was a 1989 World Golf Hall of Fame inductee. Although the Buenos Aires native died in 2017, at age 94, in commemoration of what would be his 100th birthday in April 2023, PGA TOUR Latinoamérica has added the Roberto De Vicenzo Memorial 100 Years to its official schedule. The tournament, set for March 23-26, will be at Ranelagh Golf Club, the course where De Vicenzo learned the game and where he remained a member until his death.
The Roberto De Vicenzo Memorial 100 Years is one of 11 official tournaments as PGA TOUR Latinoamérica plays its 11th season, and players seek to win the Totalplay Cup, earn Korn Ferry Tour membership and eventually make their way to the PGA TOUR.
In an unlikely career, a poor kid from Buenos Aires gravitated to golf and did just that, winning five PGA TOUR tournaments— including the 1967 Open Championship—and in the process putting golf on the front pages of every newspaper in Latin America
“Roberto was and remains a huge inspiration to everybody involved in the development and growth of the game of golf across Latin America,” said Todd Rhinehart, PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Executive Director. “Celebrating a tournament to honor his legacy on the year of his 100th birthday was an opportunity we couldn’t pass up. It’s going to be truly a special week this coming March.”
Tournament organizer German Galli echoed Rhinehart’s comments, knowing what De Vicenzo means to golf not only in his native Argentina but in all of Latin America.
“Roberto’s 100th birthday can’t be overlooked. His life and legacy have to be celebrated with a grand event, and this tournament, featuring the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica’s up-and-coming stars who are hoping to follow in Roberto’s footsteps, will do just that. It’s going to be a unique event,” said Galli.
Prior to the Roberto De Vicenzo Memorial 100 Years, PGA TOUR Latinoamérica began its season before the calendar turned, at the 116th playing of the Visa Argentine Open presented by Macro, a tournament De Vicenzo won a record nine times between 1944 and 1974. Argentina will host three additional tournaments, while the Tour will also travel to Chile, Ecuador, Brazil and Peru, also visiting Colombia and Mexico twice for two tournaments each. The Tour’s season concludes at a to-be-determined course in Mexico for the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Championship, where Mitchell Meissner locked up the Totalplay Cup last year.
Meissner accomplished something no other player in nine previous seasons had accomplished: he gained the Tour’s Player of the Year honors without the benefit of winning a tournament. Yet Meissner, a rookie on the 2023 Korn Ferry Tour, was incredibly consistent, posting nine top-10s in his 12 starts—five of them top fives, including a pair of runner-up showings.