Challenge Tour

The Challenge Tour is the second-tier men's professional golf tour in Europe. It is operated by the PGA European Tour and, as with on the main European Tour and the European Senior Tour, some of the events are played outside Europe. World ranking points are awarded for high finishes in Challenge Tour events. Most Challenge Tour events give 12 OWGR points to the winner, with those co-sanctioned by the European Tour earning 18 points. The Challenge Tour Grand Final gives 17 points to the winner.

Challenge Tour
Current season, competition or edition:
Current sports event 2020 Challenge Tour
PGA European Challenge Tour logo.png
FounderEuropean Tour
DirectorAlain de Soultrait
CountriesBased in Europe.
Includes events outside Europe,
in Asia and Africa.
Most titlesIain Pyman (8)
European Tour
Official websiteChallenge Tour

In 2014, a number of events received slightly higher points totals, with three events earning a minimum of 13 points and the Challenge Tour Grand Final winner receiving 17 points, up from 16.[1]


The tour was introduced in 1986 and was initially called the Satellite Tour. The Order of Merit was introduced in 1989, with the top five players on it winning membership of the European Tour for the following season. The following year the tour was renamed the Challenge Tour. Up to 1993 the Challenge Tour rankings were based on each player's best several results, but since 1994 it has been a straightforward money list, with all results counting.

Players who are successful on the Challenge Tour qualify for membership of the European Tour the following year. Fifteen players earn direct promotion to the European Tour. Players finishing 16–45 may also gain qualification for occasional low-prize-money European Tour events, but can improve their status through European Tour Qualifying School. Players who win three Challenge Tour events in a season are fast-tracked onto the main tour immediately and are fully exempt the following season, similar to that of the US-based Korn Ferry Tour.

One competitive level down from the Challenge Tour are four third-level developmental tours—the Alps Tour, the Pro Golf Tour, the PGA EuroPro Tour and the Nordic League, each of which is based in a different region of Europe. These circuits are now collectively known as the Satellite Tour. Each season the top five players from the Order of Merit of each of these tours win a place on the Challenge Tour for the following season. The Challenge Tour also has an annual qualifying school.


Challenge Tour Rankings winnersEdit

The Challenge Tour Rankings have been calculated in Euros since 1999. Prior to that they were calculated in British pounds.[2]

Year Player Country Earnings
2019 Francesco Laporta   Italy €210,122
2018 Joachim B. Hansen   Denmark €192,320
2017 Tapio Pulkkanen   Finland €210,799
2016 Jordan Smith   England €209,985
2015 Ricardo Gouveia   Portugal €251,952
2014 Andrew Johnston   England €190,856
2013 Andrea Pavan   Italy €147,811
2012 Espen Kofstad   Norway €131,099
2011 Tommy Fleetwood   England €148,913
2010 Álvaro Velasco   Spain €134,297
2009 Edoardo Molinari   Italy €242,980
2008 David Horsey   England €144,118
2007 Michael Lorenzo-Vera   France €128,927
2006 Mark Pilkington   Wales €119,152
2005 Marc Warren   Scotland €103,577
2004 Lee Slattery   England €95,980
2003 Johan Edfors   Sweden €94,509
2002 Lee S James   England €121,531
2001 Mark Foster   England €97,737
2000 Henrik Stenson   Sweden €108,711
1999 Carl Suneson   Spain €69,642
1998 Warren Bennett   England £81,053
1997 Michele Reale   Italy £51,679
1996 Ian Garbutt   England £37,661
1995 Thomas Bjørn   Denmark £46,471
1994 Raymond Burns   Northern Ireland £43,584
1993 Joakim Grönhagen   Sweden £48,366
1992 Paul Affleck   Wales £39,769
1991 David R. Jones   England £35,533
1990 Giuseppe Calì   Italy £28,383
1989 Neal Briggs   England

The PGA European Tour does track career earnings on the Challenge Tour. A ranking of career earnings would be of little value as a measure of success, since the objective of players on the tour is to leave it as soon as possible by winning promotion to the main tour.

Schedules by yearEdit

Originally, the Challenge Tour events were held in Western Europe. In 1991, the five Safari Circuit events in Africa were added, of which the Kenya Open continues today, and the Zambia Open was last played in 2004. Also the Moroccan Golf Classic was held from 2002 to 2010. The Challenge Tour featured Latin American tournaments co-sanctioned with the Tour de las Américas from 2003 to 2012. Since 2011, the tour has added events in Asia, such as the Gujarat Kensville Challenge (India), National Bank of Oman Golf Classic, Challenge Tour Grand Final (Oman), Ras Al Khaimah Golf Challenge (Dubai) and Foshan Open (China).

The table below summarises the development of the tour since 1999, which was the year that the euro became the currency of record for the tour. Individual tournaments have purses fixed in a mixture of British pounds, euro and U.S. dollars, so year on year changes in the total prize fund reflect exchange rate fluctuations as well as prize fund movements in constant currencies.[3]

Year Ranking tournaments Total prize money (€)
2015 24 5,519,925
2014 27 6,557,429
2013 25 5,674,581
2012 26 5,707,717
2011 25 5,399,759
2010 25 4,826,454[4]
2009 24 4,693,649
2008 33 6,017,393
2007 32 5,282,301
2006 30 4,799,014
2005 30 5,493,413
2004 29 4,370,149
2003 28 4,676,787
2002 26 3,982,797[5]
2001 29 3,888,135
2000 23 2,593,986
1999 27 2,196,529

See alsoEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. ^ "OWGR Board Announces Adjustments To Ranking System". OWGR. 6 August 2014.
  2. ^ "Challenge Tour Road To Oman". PGA European Tour.
  3. ^ "Challenge Tour Schedule". PGA European Tour.
  4. ^ "The Challenge Tour in numbers". PGA European Tour. 28 January 2011. Retrieved 2011-01-31.
  5. ^ 2002 statistics include one abandoned tournament with a planned purse of €130,000.

External linksEdit