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The PGA and DP World tours have announced a partnership with the Japan Golf Tour, creating a “formal pathway” to the established circuits.

Starting this season, the top three players on the Japan Golf Tour Organization (JGTO) order of merit will earn DP World Tour membership for the following year.

It follows the announcement earlier this year that the leading ten non-exempt players on the DP World Tour will earn spots on the PGA Tour from this year.

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“The Japan Golf Tour Organization has produced many incredibly talented players over the years, and we are delighted to establish this formal pathway as part of golf’s meritocratic system, defining clear routes for players from the other international Tours to earn status on the DP World Tour and potentially go on to play on the PGA Tour,” said DP World Tour CEO Keith Pelley.

“There are players from 34 different countries exempt on the DP World Tour in 2023 and, alongside our first tournament in Japan next April, today’s announcement further underlines our position as golf’s global Tour.”

As well as offering a route from the Asian circuit to the European and US-based tours, the partnership includes access to DP World Tour Q-school.

The JGTO will also work alongside the tours on “key business areas” including strategic development and commercial growth.

“Japan has a long, storied history of producing world-class golf talent that deserves the opportunity to compete on the game’s highest stage, and today’s announcement is recognition of that,” said PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan.

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“Over the past 30 years, 25 players have claimed at least one victory on both the PGA Tour and Japan Golf Tour, including current Japan Golf Tour Chairman Isao Aoki, who in 1983 became the first Japanese-born player to win on the PGA Tour when he holed out for eagle on the 72nd hole to win the Sony Open in Hawaii. His legacy continues today with eight-time JGTO winner Hideki Matsuyama and will now endure for years to come under this new pathway.”

Aoki added: “We are proud of the rich tradition the Japan men’s golf tour has established over the last 40 years, and this development is the next step in the journey of our organization. Our players have made significant contributions to the global game since our tour’s inception in 1973, and we are excited that the next class of Japanese players will soon be able to reap the rewards that their predecessors helped create for them. We are looking forward to working with both the PGA Tour and DP World Tour on the next era of professional golf development in Japan.”

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