Are these the first steps towards a World Tour? Keith Pelley believes it’s a possibility as relations between Europe and PGA continue to grow
- European Tour chief Keith Pelley wants closer co-operation with the PGA Tour
- Pelley believes it is the best way forward for golf to compete against other sports
- He is speaking with PGA CEO Jay Monahan and said a World Tour is a possibility
European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley believes closer co-operation with the behemoth PGA Tour in America is the way forward if golf is to take on the competing interests of other sports.
The Canadian stopped short of saying there will finally be a World Tour in place in the near future but conceded it was a possibility.
‘I don’t know the reasons why the relationship was strained between us and the PGA Tour in the past, but it’s certainly changed now,’ he said. ‘I have an excellent relationship with Jay (Monahan, the CEO for the PGA Tour) and we are talking right now about how we can work closer together.
European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley wants closer co-operation with the PGA Tour
‘Jay and I are more colleagues than would have been the case with our predecessors. We’re still running our respective tours, we’re both members’ organisations but there needs to be somewhere down the line where we strategically align far better than we’re doing now.
‘Does that mean a World Tour down the road? Potentially, but let’s start having good, positive conversations now.’
Pelley’s vision makes perfect sense. For too long, we’ve had top-grade tournaments taking place in the same week on both sides of the Atlantic, competing for the same A-listers, with the result invariably being that two thirds of them play in America and both events get diluted.
Now, with the announcement of the 2019 European Tour schedule on Monday and three Rolex Series events — the BMW PGA at Wentworth, and the French and Italian Opens — moving to more favourable autumn dates, we’re seeing the first signs of a departure from that unhealthy strategy when it comes to attracting global interest in the ultra-competitive sports market.
Pelley is speaking with PGA CEO Jay Monahan (pictured) and believes a World Tour is possible
‘The way I see it, there are four points in the year where we can generate excellent fields on our tour,’ said Pelley. ‘You’ve got the Middle East at the start of the year, July in Europe, after the FedEx Cup finishes in America in August, and then the end of the year.’
Tellingly, only one of those four points — the Gulf Swing in January/February — will now see a split among the top players as to where to compete.
What price in five years we’ve reached some sort of amalgamation between the European and PGA Tours, with a schedule beginning in the Middle East, moving to America before a Europe Swing in July, back to the US and then on to other parts of the globe — a World Tour, in other words, with another stratum of events one rung below?
It’s not often that the offspring of a successful sportsperson follows in their footsteps to make it to the highest level. It’s rarefied territory indeed, for two to do so.
The proudest father in the sports fraternity on Sunday, therefore, might well have been former Australian Open tennis champ Petr Korda, following a maiden victory for his 20-year-old daughter Nelly at the LPGA Taiwan Championship.
Nelly followed in the footsteps of 25-year-old Jessica, who is a five-time winner on tour — and there might yet be a third Korda sibling who leaves their mark, would you believe. Baby brother Sebastian, just 18, is ranked world No 2 in the International Tennis Federation junior rankings.
Nelly Korda pictured with her new Rolex after winning the LPGA Taiwan Championship
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
‘Thank God this lad is over in America! You stay right there, son! No need to bother with the European Tour. I’m far too old to be getting involved with that.’
Paul Waring gives a typically wry Scouse take on learning that American Cameron Champ hit nine drives over 320 yards and one of 360 yards on his way to a four-shot success in the Sanderson Farms Championship in only his second start on the PGA Tour on Sunday.
Just as scary is the fact that the 23-year-old can putt as well. First in driving distance and second in strokes gained in putting adds up to a golfer with a perfect surname.
Paul Waring gave a typically wry Scouse take on finding out about Cameron Champ’s drives
The American hit nine drives over 320 yards en route to Sanderson Farms Championship win
Needless to say, good luck to the 450 or so souls who have gathered at four venues in Spain this week for the second stage of the European Tour’s Qualifying School. Most have already come through the first stage, where more than 1,000 hopefuls — each paying £1,750 for the opportunity — had gathered.
Now they’ll be whittled down to around 70 who will join the exempt players to form a 156-strong field competing in the final stage which will take place next month. At that event, 25 will earn playing privileges for the European Tour, or part privileges if truth be told, since the events they will get in are invariably the smaller tournaments offering the least prize money at the farthest-flung venues.
No wonder those who come through all that to make their way into the big events quickly take the eye, as Englishman Sam Horsfield has done this year. Talk about survival of the fittest.
Source: Read Full Article