The PGA Professional Championship is a golf tournament for golf club professionals and teachers who are members of the Professional Golfers' Association of America. It has been held by the PGA of America since 1968, when touring professionals split off to found the PGA Tour.
The PGA Professional Championship was known as the PGA Club Professional Championship until 2006 and as the PGA Professional National Championship from 2007 through 2015. From 1997 to 2018, the tournament was usually been played in late June, six to seven weeks before the PGA Championship in mid-August. Previously, the club pro tournament had been played in the fall, anywhere from late September to December, and its top 25 finishers qualified for the PGA Championship. With the move of the PGA Championship to May in 2019, the PGA Professional Championship moved to late April/early May. The number of qualifiers was reduced by five in 2006 to the top 20 finishers.
To earn entry into the PGA Professional Championship, players must have PGA membership, be certified as Class A PGA Professionals, and cannot have more than ten combined starts on professional tours (including various developmental tours, senior tours, and mini-tours) during a preceding twelve-month period, not counting majors. Players earn entry by allocations from championships of their respective PGA sections, as the defending champions of the PGA Assistant Championship, or as former champions of the event. The field consists of 312 professionals representing the 41 sections of the PGA of America. At the end of two rounds, the top 90 plus ties compete in round three. After round three, the field is reduced to 70 plus ties. At the end of 72 holes, if there is a tie for 20th place, a playoff occurs until exactly twenty advance to the PGA Championship.
The PGA Championship was originally the leading championship organized by the whole body of professionals, both club and touring. This contrasts to the other three majors, two of which are organized by bodies controlled by golf's amateur establishment, and the other run by a private club founded by a lifetime amateur. Since 1968, the PGA Championship has been run mainly for the top touring professionals, but unlike the other majors, it continues to reserve places for the club pros.
Sam Snead and Bob Rosburg are the only players to win a major championship and the PGA Professional Championship. Bruce Fleisher and Larry Gilbert each would go on to win a senior major. Several other winners have had PGA Tour careers, either before or after winning the championship. The first edition in 1968 was held in early December in Scottsdale, Arizona.
The winner also earns $75,000 and six exemptions into the PGA Tour for the next season, three of which must be opposite The Open Championship or World Golf Championship events. The top five finishers are also given entry into the second round of the Web.com Tour Qualifying Tournament.
Although the event gives invitations to the men's PGA event, women are eligible to compete. Those who have made the 36-hole cut include Suzy Whaley (2005) and Karen Paolozzi (2016). Paolozzi placed inside the top 20 in 2016, but was not given entry due to the "Whaley Rule," where women must play from the same tees as the men during both the sectional and national tournaments. The Women's PGA Championship (formerly the LPGA Championship) was established in 2015 and awarded entry to the top eight finishers of the LPGA T&CP (Teaching and Club Professional) National Championship.
The 2020 edition was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 20 PGA Professionals given entry into the PGA Championship were based on a points system.
- "2018 PGA Professional Championship: What's at Stake, TV Schedule and More". PGA of America. June 6, 2018. Retrieved July 22, 2018. Cite has empty unknown parameter:
- "Sports-in-brief". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. December 9, 1968. p. 2B.
- "Fraser wins 1st meet for club pros". Chicago Tribune. Associated Press. December 9, 1968. p. 3, sec. 6.
- 2019 PGA Professional Player of the Year Standings
- "2020 PGA Professional Championship Cancelled". PGA Professional Championship. June 29, 2020. Retrieved June 30, 2020.