The Korn Ferry Tour's 33rd season gets going Sunday in the Bahamas. You read that right, the first event of the 2023 season starts on Sunday.
With the news season comes bigger purses, new tournaments, plenty of fresh faces and a chance at a PGA Tour card.
The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay features a new wave of golfers will look to earn their cards for the 2023-24 season.
"The ultimate proving ground, the Korn Ferry Tour continues to identify, prepare and transition golf's next stars to compete on the PGA Tour," PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said in a release.
Here's a look at things to know ahead of the Korn Ferry Tour's 2023 season.
Akshay Bhatia plays his shot from the tenth tee during the second round of the 2022 Butterfield Bermuda Championship at Port Royal Golf Course in Southampton, Bermuda. (Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
When looking at interesting names on the KFT for the 2023 season, there are plenty that stick out.
Akshay Bhatia, who won the season-opening event last year, finished 30th on the final points list. Before turning pro, he was a heralded junior and amateur star. He'll look to build off last year.
Another name is Willie Mack III, who earned his Korn Ferry Tour status after getting through the final stage of Q-School. He was a star on the APGA Tour and has numerous mini tour victories, but he's now one step closer to earning a PGA Tour card.
Norman Xiong, a former Haskins Award winner, won the Wichita Open last year at 26 under, the second-lowest score in KFT history. He's got full status this year and will look to find his spark again.
Chris Gotterup, the reigning Haskins Award winner, tied for seventh at the PGA Tour's Puerto Rico Open and had a dominating senior season at Oklahoma last year. He's primed for a stellar season.
A look at the schedule/new events
Victoria National Golf Course in Newburgh, Indiana.
There are 26 tournaments scheduled across 18 states and five countries for the 2023 Korn Ferry Tour season. The Korn Ferry Tour Championship will conclude in October.
Including stops in the Bahamas, Panama, Columbia and a new one in Chile, Korn Ferry Tour pros will get to travel plenty.
The Astara Chile Classic is the first new event in Santiago, scheduled for March 30-April 2. Then comes the Compliance Solutions Championship at Jimmie Austin Golf Club in Norman, Oklahoma, from June 22-25. Then, the final week before the four-event Korn Ferry Tour Finals is the Magnit Championship at Metedeconk National Golf Club in Jackson Township, New Jersey.
A golf flag at the Korn Ferry Tour Championship at Victoria National Golf Club in Newburgh, Indiana. Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images
Speaking of new tournaments, players will be competing for more prize money this year.
In 2023, Korn Ferry Tour members will compete for $28 million in total prize money, marking the highest purse in Tour history and a 37.6 percent increase from the previous season ($20.35 million in 2022).
When founded in 1990 as the Ben Hogan Tour (1990-92), the Korn Ferry Tour featured a total purse of $3 million across 30 total events, averaging $100,000 per tournament.
The four-event Korn Ferry Tour Finals will begin Aug. 24-27 at the Albertsons Boise Open presented. Then, players will head to an added event, the Simmons Bank Open for the Snedeker Foundation at The Grove in College Grove, Tennessee, from Sept. 14-17.
The penultimate event is the Nationwide Children's Hospital Championship at Ohio State Golf Club's Scarlet Course from Sept. 21-24. Two weeks later, the finals conclude at Korn Ferry Tour Championship at Victoria National Golf Club in Newburgh, Indiana, from Oct. 5-8.
The fields will go from 156-144-120-75.
Who earns PGA Tour cards?
The revamped Korn Ferry Tour Finals - which previously referred to the final three events of the season where the top 75 on the Korn Ferry Tour and Nos. 126-200 in the FedEx Cup standings competed for 25 Tour cards - now refers to the final four events of the season, where Korn Ferry Tour members will compete for increased purses ($1.5 million) and points allocations, while field sizes will be reduced similar to the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup Playoffs.
In 2023, the Korn Ferry Tour will no longer have a separate points list for the regular season and the Korn Ferry Tour Finals; the 26-event schedule will have one season-long points list to award 30 PGA Tour cards.
The No. 1 player on the final 2023 Korn Ferry Tour Points List will continue to earn an exemption into the Players Championship and the U.S. Open in 2024.
Story originally appeared on GolfWeek
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