PGA Tour Latinoamerica tees off today

PGA Tour Latinoamerica logo

Series: Golf Buzz

Published: Wednesday, September 05, 2012 | 1:44 p.m.

Today is the first day of the first event on the PGA Tour’s new PGA Tour Latinoamerica circuit, which consists of 11 events spread over a 15-week span ending Dec. 16 in Argentina. A total of 108 players earned full exemptions via Q-School in Miami and Argentina over the summer, and they represent 19 different nations ranging from the United States to Zimbabwe – most, of course, are from Latin America.

The youngest player is 17-year-old Franco Romero of Argentina, while the oldest is 57-year-old Efren Serna Espinoza of Mexico.

This new developmental tour was created to help expand golf’s presence in South America as the sport prepares to rejoin the Olympics in 2016 in Brazil.

"This expansion into Latin America, when combined with what the  Tour has been able to accomplish in the region in recent years, is part of the natural progression for golf which continues to grow globally," said PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem last fall when the tour was announced. "We see this as an opportunity to help in the further development of elite players across the region."

The tournaments will have 144-man fields. The top finishers will have access to the Tour – the Tour already has several events in Latin America.

Latin America has produced players such as two-time major champion Angel Cabrera, Andres Romero and Jose Coceres of Argentina; Camilo Villegas of Colombia; Jhonattan Vegas of Venezuela and Carlos Franco of Paraguay, who has played in the Presidents Cup. Cabrera and Romero got their starts by going to Europe, while Franco blossomed while playing in Japan.

for more on the tour, visit .