US PGA Tour takes over Canadian Tour

The US PGA Tour said it has acquired the Canadian Tour, giving those playing the circuit north of the border an avenue into more competitive pro tours.

Playing privileges on the developmental Tour -- formerly the Nationwide Tour -- will be awarded to the top five players on what now will be named the "PGA Tour Canada."

The next five players will go directly into the final stage of qualifying school for the Tour, which sends many of its best players onto the US PGA Tour.

With the addition of a Canadian circuit, the US PGA Tour now has minor-league tours both north and south of the border. PGA Tour Latinoamerica started in September and includes 11 tournaments. PGA Tour Canada will have at least eight events.

The US tour has provided funding and other services to the Canadian Professional Golf Tour this season.

"Having gained a thorough understanding of the golf landscape in Canada over the course of the 2012 season, we are confident that by fully dedicating our assets and resources, PGA Tour Canada will be well positioned to play an increasingly important role in professional golf," US tour commissioner Tim Finchem said on Thursday.

Pierre Blouin, chairman of the Canadian Tour board of directors, said the move was "the logical next step for the (Canadian) Tour's sustainability and growth."

Finchem called it a "win-win" proposition that strengthens the Canadian tour and expands the US PGA Tour brand in Canada.