PGA Tour field sizes, and how they're determined
PGA Tour

PGA Tour field sizes, and how they’re determined

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Every week on the PGA Tour, the world's best golfers come together to battle each other for the trophy and big money. However, the PGA Tour field size each week varies, depending on a number of conditions. Some weeks, there are 156 players. Some weeks, there are 144. Sometimes a tournament has 120 players.

So, how does the PGA Tour determine its field size? We walk you through each scenario.

Most people think of events on the PGA Tour as being considered open tournaments. However, they're not that frequent these days. These events are available to any player who qualifies for the event through the PGA Tour qualifying criteria, including players who get through a Monday (sometimes weekend) qualifying tournament and those non-members who scored a top-10 finish in the prior open tournament. These fields, by policy, should be 156 players, provided it's possible to get through 36 holes with morning and afternoon waves of 78 players going off in threesomes off two starting holes.

If they cannot, then the field size is reduced to 144 players or fewer -- a choice made at the discretion of Tournament Director that week. For example, the Phoenix Open has a 132-player field because of daylight and timing issues. Usually the numbers come in increments of 12: 156, 144, 132.

Then there are invitational tournaments. These events have a starting field determined in conjunction by the PGA Tour and the tournament itself. These events include the Memorial Tournament, Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Genesis Invitational. These events typically have a starting field of 120 players.

The tournaments at Colonial (Charles Schwab Challenge) and Harbor Town (RBC Heritage) aren't technically invitationals, but they do have a 132-player field.

These tournaments also get to pick their specific criteria for setting their fields outside of the usual PGA Tour priority list. These events include the FedEx Cup playoff events and The Players Championship.

The Players Championship has a 144-player field, but it's not open. Starting in 2023, the fields for the FedEx Cup playoff events go from 70 players down to 50, then 30 for the Tour Championship.

The Masters field is determined purely by invitation criteria set forth by Augusta National Golf Club.

The remaining three majors have pre-determined field sizes of 156, but the U.S. Open and British Open Championship have a portion of the field set aside through open qualifying tournaments, while the PGA Championship is closed to amateur players.

Figuring out the PGA Tour field size is not as easy as it seems, and each tournament has a unique way in determining how players get into a field.

PGA Tour event field sizes

Sanderson Farms Championship 144
Fortinet Championship 144
Shriners Open 144
Houston Open 144
The CJ Cup 78
Zozo Championship 78
Butterfield Bermuda Championship 144
World Wide Technology Championship 132
The RSM Classic 156
Sentry Tournament of Champions N/A
Sony Open in Hawaii 144
The American Express 156
Farmers Insurance Open 156
Waste Management Phoenix Open 132
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro 156
The Genesis Invitational 120
Puerto Rico Open 120
Arnold Palmer Invitational 120
The Players Championship 144
Valspar Championship 144
WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play 64
Corales Puntacana Championship 120
Valero Texas Open 144
Masters Tournament N/A
RBC Heritage 132
Zurich Classic of New Orleans 160
Wells Fargo Championship 156
AT&T Byron Nelson 156
PGA Championship 156
Charles Schwab Challenge 120
Rocket Mortgage Classic 156
the Memorial Tournament 120
RBC Canadian Open 156
U.S. Open 156
Travelers Championship 156
Barracuda Championship 120
John Deere Classic 156
The Open Championship 156
Barbasol Championship 120
3M Open 156
Wyndham Championship 156
FedEx St. Jude Championship 70
BMW Championship 50
Tour Championship 30

About the author

Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for nearly 20 years. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He is currently a +2.6 USGA handicap, and he has covered dozens of major championships and professional golf tournaments. He likes writing about golf and making it more accessible by answering the complex questions fans have about the pro game or who want to understand how to play golf better.

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