The World Curling Tour was created in 1992, with men's events only. In 2001, the WCT introduced a series of Grand Slam events for men which was later followed in 2006 by Grand Slam events for women. These became known as the Grand Slam of Curling and featured large payouts. Originally, curlers who participated in Grand Slam events were obliged to not participate in their respective Brier playdowns, however this was quickly rescinded.
Most WCT events are held in the Fall, and early Winter to avoid competing with the Brier and Scotties playdowns.
The WCT is experimenting with length of games in two interesting ways. The first is that the games are only eight ends long with a 4th end break. The second is that the time clocks only count "thinking time", so the clock goes off when the players throw the rock. The reason is that time clocks, an innovation created to speed up the game, would stop as soon as the stone stopped. With the old system where teams were given 73 minutes of time if a team was losing, they would throw more draw shots which take time. The team that is winning throws more hits and thus ends up with more time if needed. So the WCT moved to "Thinking time" to even out this discrepancy. With this new system, each team is given 40 minutes of “Thinking Time” plus an additional 5 minutes if the game goes to an extra end.
The team with the most winnings at the end of the year wins the Founders Trophy. The winners in 2007 were Kevin Martin's team who won a total of $176,000.
A Women's World Curling Tour also exists, and is now affiliated with the WCT.
As of 2018, the Men's and Women's World Curling Tour begins its debut in early August with the Hokkaido Bank Curling Classic and has events taking place all throughout the curling season until the Champions Cup in late April. Each of the bonspiel events on the World Curling Tour lasts for approximately 3 days with a final payoff ranging in the thousands of dollars for the winners. There are 7 major men’s and women's tournaments that are held throughout the year, each with a final cash prize of at least $100,000 for the winning team. These are the Elite 10, the Masters, the Tour Challenge, the National, the Canadian Open, the Players' Championship, and the Champions Cup. Together, these events are known as Grand Slam events because of the large payoff that is associated with them as well as the number of high-level curlers that play in these tournaments. There also used to be 2 more Grand Slam events for the women called the Sobeys Slam and Wayden Transportation Ladies Classic but these were discontinued in 2010.
On October 2, 2006, the license of rights for the Grand Slam of Curling was sold to Insight Sports Ltd. but was later sold again in August 2012 to Rogers Communications. The WCT naming rights were then sold to Asham, a long time contributor to the sport, until 2014 and because of this, the World Curling Tour was renamed Asham’s World Curling Tour. The Grand Slam was originally simply called the Grand Slam of Curling until 2008 when the rights were sold by the CBC to Capital One bank which renamed the Grand Slam the Capital One Grand Slam of Curling. Unlike the other World Curling Tour events, these Grand Slams they are played in 8-end games as opposed to the usual 10 end games found in the other WCT events. Another new rule that was first put into practice at the men’s nationals in 2014 is the 5 rock rule which increased the 4 rock rule and free guard zone rule by another rock. This changed the starting strategy of the game as the team with the hammer was able to throw up two guards uncontested instead of the usual 1 allowed with the previously used 4 rock rule. Through the addition of the Grand Slam events and the new rule changes, the WCT is rapidly becoming a well known series to sports fans worldwide.
On June 28, 2017, the Canadian based World Curling Tour officially merged with the European and Asian based Curling Champions Tour to create a worldwide entity focused on growing the game on the international stage. The World Curling Tour World rights holder is now the Zurich Switzerland based company CCT Event GmbH. This merger has also led to the growth of a Mixed Doubles tour, along with adding Junior and Wheelchair curling tours to expand the offering.
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