Island tour

New alliance gives 10 European Tour players PGA Tour cards

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PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan speaks during a press conference before the start of the Travelers Championship golf tournament at TPC River Highlands, Wednesday, June 22, 2022, in Cromwell, Conn. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig )

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The PGA Tour awards 10 cards to players on the European Tour and brings back a direct path to the big Q-school leagues as part of an expanded partnership with Europe that aims to strengthen against the LIV Golf funded by the Saudi Arabia.

The joint venture with Europe is a 13-year deal through 2035, and the PGA Tour is increasing its stake in European Tour Productions, the tour’s media and commercial arm, from 15% to 40%.

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan outlined significant changes to the schedule last week that will include a January-August season starting in 2024 and create purses averaging $20 million for eight elite events.

The changes outlined in a conference call on Tuesday give European Tour players immediate access to the PGA Tour. The top 10 players – excluding those already on the PGA Tour, such as Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm – will have full cards for the following year.

The partnership is likely to create better coordination of an overall schedule for both tours. Next week’s Scottish Open is the first tournament co-sanctioned by the two, and the field is the strongest in tournament history.

“While this closer collaboration between our tours has always been on the roadmap for our strategic alliance, it’s pretty obvious to say that the current situation in golf has significantly accelerated this process,” said the CEO of the European tour. , Keith Pelley.

In addition to access to the top 10 players on the European Tour, the PGA Tour is restructuring who it brings in domestically.

The Tour now offers cards to the top 25 Korn Ferry Tour players, with an additional 25 cards from a three-tournament series for Korn Ferry Tour players and PGA Tour members who finished outside the top 125.

Starting in 2023, the top 30 players on the Korn Ferry Tour receive cards. For everyone else, there will be Q-school in which the top five players and ties go straight to the PGA Tour. The tour hasn’t offered direct access from Q-school since 2013. This means top college players will have a chance to skip a year on the Korn Ferry Tour.

The PGA Tour estimates that with 30 cards to players from the Korn Ferry Tour, 10 from Europe and five or more from Q-school, it will create more opportunities for those who finished just outside the top 125 and have not than conditional access.

“Ultimately, for us, it is about creating the best and most effective competitive platform for the best players in the world to establish context, establish historical relevance and establish the relevance in the eyes of fans around the world,” Monahan said.

Based on last year’s European rankings, the top 10 players would have gone all the way up to Laurie Canter of England at No. 24 (Canter is now part of LIV Golf).

Pelley said the European tour shouldn’t be considered a “feeding tour” due to a schedule that includes domestic openings across mainland Europe and Middle Eastern swing, such as Abu Dhabi and Dubai. .

Even so, with historically two dozen of the top finishers in Europe on the PGA Tour – top 10 and current US members – they would play fewer events in Europe.

Previously, players on the European Tour and other major tours around the world would have been able to earn money from majors, world championship golf or sponsor tees on the PGA Tour and earn a card. they were equivalent to No. 125 or better.

The new system is said to have helped US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick. He reached the top 50 in the world in 2015, but fell short of the 125 count and only earned a PGA Tour card after the 2019 season. Under the new system, he would have been eligible to join the PGA Tour three years earlier.

Pelley, meanwhile, said he met Golf Saudi in Malta last summer, presented his presentation to the European board and decided the offer was less compelling than the one he had turned down from the Premier Golf League sometime. nine months earlier.

The European tour previously worked with Golf Saudi when the Saudi international was part of their program for three years. Pelley said he approached Golf Saudi to get involved in the European Challenge Tour.

“I’ve been consistent that if in fact they’re interested in playing within the ecosystem and not launching a rival tour which I think is detrimental to the game as a whole, so personally, from DP World’s perspective, I would be open – and they know this – to having a conversation,” he said.

“But I’m not interested and that’s why there hasn’t been a conversation since the summer of 2021.”

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