10/18/2012 10:55 EDT | Updated 12/18/2012 05:12 EST

PGA Tour assumes operations of Canadian Tour; event renamed PGA Tour Canada

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. - After lending strategic and financial support to the Canadian Tour over the last year, the PGA Tour officially put the development golf circuit under its umbrella Thursday and renamed it PGA Tour Canada.

The tour will debut in 2013 with at least eight summer tournaments in Canada offering a minimum purse of $150,000. The conversion will begin Nov. 1.

"Having gained a thorough understanding of the golf landscape in Canada over the course of the 2012 season, we are confident that by fully dedicating our assets and resources, PGA Tour Canada will be well positioned to play an increasingly important role in professional golf," said PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem.

"With a solid foundation of existing tournaments along with outstanding opportunities to establish new events, we are confident PGA Tour Canada will strengthen and grow in the coming years."

The developmental tour will provide direct access to the Tour for its leading money winners, based on the final Order of Merit. The top five players will receive playing privileges on the Tour, while the next five will be exempt into the finals of the Tour qualifying school.

The Canadian Tour has been a training ground for up-and-coming professionals since its inception as the Peter Jackson Tour in 1971.

"This is the logical next step for the Tour's sustainability and growth," said Canadian Tour board chair Pierre Blouin. "The PGA Tour provided invaluable assistance throughout the 2012 season and through its evaluation process saw strong potential.

"Golf is incredibly popular in Canada and PGA Tour Canada will be a very important part of Canada's sports landscape in the coming years."

Details on the full schedule and the Tour's executive structure will be announced at a later date. The PGA Tour Canada hopes to eventually grow to 12 or 13 events.

"We have long recognized the many advantages of joining forces with the PGA Tour," said Canadian Tour commissioner Rick Janes. "It not only brings a new level of stature to Canada's domestic circuit, it ensures that PGA Tour Canada will continue to attract the best young professionals and offer the highest level of competition.

"For developing young Canadian players the opportunity to compete on home soil against top PGA Tour prospects from around the world is a tremendous advantage."

Former Canadian Tour players have accounted for more than 110 victories on the PGA Tour, including Canadians Mike Weir, Dave Barr, Dan Halldorson and Ian Leggatt.

"We view this as a win-win proposition that strengthens an established tour in a country that absolutely loves golf," Finchem said.