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Top amateur events joining forces to form elite series

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Amateur golf's major tournaments are joining forces.

GolfChannel.com has learned that seven of the top summer amateur tournaments in the country are partnering up to form what will be called the Elite Amateur Golf Series, with top points earners from those events earning exemptions into USGA and PGA Tour-sanctioned events.

The tournaments that will make up the seven-event series: Southern Amateur, Sunnehanna Amateur, Northeast Amateur, North and South Amateur, Trans-Miss Amateur, Pacific Coast Amateur and Western Amateur. These are all summer events that take place from June to August and lead into the U.S. Amateur.

"Our mission is to enhance amateur golf by aligning the top competitive amateur championships and providing exceptional playing opportunities for the best amateur golfers to compete at the highest level," a mission statement on the series' website reads.

According to the website and a promotional video, there will be a collective competition, the Elite Amateur Cup, that will feature a points race determined using players' cumulative World Amateur Golf Ranking points earned in the seven series events. Players must compete in at least three of those events to be eligible for exemptions.

The top five players in next summer's Elite Amateur Cup following the Western Amateur, per the site, will receive exemptions into the 2022 U.S. Amateur and 2023 U.S. Open final qualifying. Four tour exemptions – one PGA Tour (2022 Butterfield Bermuda Championship) and four KFT (all TBD) – will be distributed "based upon the final 2022 Elite Amateur Cup standings in a manner TBA," the website says.

Several players and others connected to the amateur game told GolfChannel.com that they've been hearing about this plan for months. In addition to the website, Twitter and Instagram accounts for the series (@eliteamseries) have recently popped up, teasing the tournaments involved. One post featured the slogan: "The Best of the Best Amateur Golfers. Many will try, but only a few can truly be elite."

An official announcement of the Elite Amateur Golf Series is expected on Tuesday, per a notice sent to some players.

This news comes after the PGA Tour last season debuted PGA Tour University, which awards Korn Ferry Tour and other international-tour cards to the top seniors in college golf each season. The top five players in that program receive KFT status for the summer after graduation and an exemption into final stage of KFT Q-School. The next 10 players have the choice of status on PGA Tour Canada or PGA Tour Latinoamerica and a free pass into second stage. Recently, PGA Tour U awarded its current No. 1, Texas A&M's Sam Bennett, a spot in next month's Dubai Desert Classic on the DP World Tour.