The PGA European Tour is an organization that operates the three major men's professional golf tours in Europe. The elite European Tour, the European Seniors Tour and the developmental Challenge Tour. Its headquarters are at the Wentworth Club in Virginia Water, Surrey, England. The European Tour is the most important golf tour in Europe and, in international prestige, is second only to the PGA Tour which is based in the United States.
The European Tour was created by the England-based Professional Golfers' Association, and responsibility for its management was transferred to the independent PGA European Tour in 1984. Most tournaments on the three European Tour tours takes place in Europe, but in recent years an increasing number of tournaments have also been organized in other parts of the world.
The PGA European Tour is a player-controlled organization whose main purpose is to maximize the financial income of professional players who participate in tournaments. It is privately held and run by professionals, but controlled by the players through a 12-member board elected from current and past players, and a committee that oversees tournaments for 14 current players. Since 2007, the chairman of the board has been Neil Coles, while the chairman of the committee is Thomas Bjørn.
Almost all tournaments are played in Western Europe and the most lucrative of these are those held in the UK, Ireland, Germany, France and Spain. Only one tournament is held in Eastern Europe behind the old Iron Curtain, the Russian Open.
The PGA European Tour also organizes the Ryder Cup in partnership with the PGA of America.