The Challenge Tour
- Operated by the PGA European Tour
The Challenge Tour began in 1986, then as the Satellite Tour. From 1989 the top five players would graduate, in effect, to the European Tour for the following season. From 1990 it became the Challenge Tour.
The evaluation of the 'top' players was initially based on players' results over several tournaments. However from 1994 this changed to ranking via their earnings or monetary winnings from all their tournaments.
Players who are successful on the Challenge Tour qualify for membership of the European Tour the following year. Fifteen players earn direct promotion to the European Tour. Players finishing 16–45 may also gain qualification for occasional low-prize-money European Tour events, but can improve their status through European Tour Qualifying School. Players who win three Challenge Tour events in a season are fast-tracked onto the main tour.
Challenge Tour season winners so far have been from a diverse range of European countries. The winners from the last six years have been from the Czech Republic, Italy, Denmark, Finland, England and Portugal. Tommy Fleetwood won the challenge in 2011.
The Challenge Tour Schedule is at this European Tour Link.
The Irish Challenge has just wrapped up, following the Dormy Open in Sweden. Ahead are the Czech Challenge, the Challenge de Cadiz and the Challenge de España, then to France.
At least a few Aussies are competing in the Challenge Tour, including Deyen Lawson and Blake Windred, as well as Kiwi Daniel Hillier.