What Was the Nike Tour in Golf?

"Nike Tour" was the name of the PGA Tour's developmental tour (what today, at the time of this writing, is called the Korn Ferry Tour) for much of the 1990s. The second-level men's professional golf tour in the United States had the name "Nike Tour" from 1993 through 1999.

The PGA Tour created an official developmental tour in 1990 and named it the Ben Hogan Tour. When Ben Hogan Golf stopped as the title sponsor, Nike took over in 1993. When Nike left as title sponsor, it was replaced by the (now-defunct) internet retailer Buy.com, and the tour became known as the Buy.com Tour.

Each year the circuit had the name of Nike Tour, it sent a limited number of golfers, called "graduates," to the PGA Tour. Golfers who finished in the Top 10 originally and, later, the Top 15, on the Nike Tour money list got to move up to the PGA Tour the following season.

Nike Tour's Top Players and Yearly Graduates

Following are the Player of the Year Award winners and money leaders for each year the tour was named "Nike Tour," along with the list of golfers who graduated to the PGA Tour from that season.

1993

  • Player of the Year: Sean Murphy
  • Money Leader: Sean Murphy, $166,293
  • 10 graduates: Sean Murphy, Doug Martin, Stan Utley, Bob May, John Morse, Tommy Moore, Olin Browne, Larry Silveira, Chris DiMarco, Curt Byrum

1994

  • Player of the Year: Chris Perry
  • Money Leader: Chris Perry, $167,148
  • 10 graduates: Chris Perry, Scott Gump, Pat Bates, Jim Carter, Skip Kendall, Bruce Vaughan, Tommy Armour III, David Duval, Jerry Haas, Emlyn Aubrey

1995

  • Player of the Year: Jerry Kelly
  • Money Leader: Jerry Kelly, $188,878
  • 10 graduates: Jerry Kelly, Allen Doyle, David Toms, Franklin Langham, Stuart Appleby, Tom Scherrer, Chris Smith, Sean Murphy, Hugh Royer III, Brad Fabel

1996

  • Player of the Year: Stewart Cink
  • Money Leader: Stewart Cink, $251,699
  • 10 graduates: Stewart Cink, Michael Christie, Joe Durant, David Berganio Jr., Brett Quigley, Dave Rummells, P.H. Horgan III, Lee Porter, Skip Kendall, Eric Johnson

1997

  • Player of the Year: Chris Smith
  • Money Leader: Chris Smith, $225,201
  • 15 graduates: Chris Smith, Mark Carnevale, Chris DiMarco, Steve Flesch, Trevor Dodds, Barry Cheesman, J.L. Lewis, Brian Kamm, R.W. Eaks, Glen Hnatiuk, Joe Daley, Ben Bates, Harrison Frazar, Mike Small, Bobby Wadkins

1998

  • Player of the Year: Bob Burns
  • Money Leader: Bob Burns, $178,664
  • 15 graduates: Bob Burns, Robins Freeman, Joe Ogilvie, Eric Booker, John Maginnes, Dennis Paulson, Charles Raulerson, Woody Austin, Mike Sposa, Notah Begay III, Jimmy Green, Sean Murphy, Emlyn Aubrey, Tom Scherrer, Doug Dunakey

1999

  • Player of the Year: Carl Paulson
  • Money Leader: Carl Paulson, $223,051
  • 15 graduates: Carl Paulson, Joel Edwards, Marco Dawson, Mathew Goggin, Ed Fryatt, Bob Heintz, Matt Gogel, Glen Hnatiuk, Shaun Micheel, Ryan Howison, Brad Elder, Jeff Gove, Kelly Gibson, Casey Martin, Steve Gotsche

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