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Professional golf in Korea dates back to the mid 20th century. The Korean Professional Golf Championship and the Korean Open were launched in 1958 and the KPGA was founded in 1963. Various other tournaments were created over the following decades.
The KPGA's tours serve as feeders for richer tours around the world. Substantial numbers of Korean golfers have played on the Asian Tour and the Japan Golf Tour, and a few have made it onto the PGA Tour or the European Tour, including Yang Yong-eun, who was the first Korean to win a major championship, and Choi Kyung-Ju, who has won several PGA Tour events, including the 2011 Players Championship.
In 2011, there were 17 events on the main tour. All these tournament have prize funds of at least 300 million won (approximately US$300,000). Four have prize funds of 1 billion won (US$1 million) while the Ballantine's Championship has a prize fund of 2.2 million euros (approximately US$3.1 million). Total prize money for the tour is approximately 12 billion won (US$12 million).
Until 2011, regular Korean Tour events did not carry Official World Golf Ranking points. The first regular tournament to carry World Rankings Points was the 2011 Twayair Open. Korean Tour events carry a minimum of nine OWGR points for the winner, increased from six in 2016.
Other KPGA tours
The KPGA launched a developmental tour in 1999. In 2007 there are two developmental tours. Both of them consist of two-day, 36-hole tournaments, and the dates of the tours do not clash. The Bear River Tour consists of ten tournaments with prize funds of 60 million won (US$60,000) each, and the SBS Golf Calloway Tour has eight tournaments with prize funds of 40 million won (US$40,000) each.
The KPGA also runs a senior tour and a series of events for teaching pros. The Korean Senior Open Golf Championship was launched in 1996.
Women's professional golf has a high profile in South Korea, due to the immense international success of Korean women golfers such as Se Ri Pak since the mid-1990s. There is a separate LPGA of Korea Tour for women.
- "Official World Golf Ranking 2011 Week 14" (PDF). 3 April 2011. Retrieved 4 April 2011.