While there are a lot of feeder tours in the United States that give guys the opportunity to make it to the Nationwide, and hopefully the PGA Tour, players outside of the country in areas like South America have a tough time getting a chance to play golf on golf's biggest stage. Unless they have the money, playing on the level below the PGA Tour can sometimes seem like nothing more than a pipe dream.
But thanks to golf returning to the Olympics in 2016, and the PGA Tour's interest in growing the game in South America, that could be changing in the near future. As the AP's Doug Ferguson noted recently, tour officials are looking into the possibility of starting a Nationwide Tour feeder system in Latin America, the Caribbean and South America, beginning as early as next year.
While this idea is probably only coming to fruition because of the Olympics, the plan certainly seems like a smart move on the tour's part. The lack of South American players on tour is pretty troubling, with only 14 of the top 500 coming from South America, and eight from Argentina; it's clear that giving more players from that area of the country a shot could open up a potential hot bed for talent, or at the very least spotlight some of the players worthy enough of playing on the Nationwide.
Nationwide Tour graduates Camilo Villegas and Jhonattan Vegas have thrived since moving from golf's version of Triple-A baseball to the big leagues. Who knows, maybe there are more players of their calibre in that area of the country that are just waiting for a chance. Assuming the tour gets things wrapped up soon, we could find out as soon as next year.
- PGA Tour
- South America