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  • Alistair Tait

More Arms Race Misery for Euro Tour?

Do you think PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan consulted “strategic alliance” partner Keith Pelley when he announced plans to splash even more cash on the PGA Tour’s upper echelon?

Good question.

How will Monahan’s for the few not the many message to his members yesterday impact Pelley and the European Tour, now the DP World Tour? Does eight reduced-field, no-cut enriched events – sound familiar? – more money to his top players at the expense of the rank and file, and three rich Autumn tournaments in Asia, Europe and the Middle East help the DP World Tour?

Not unless Pelley and the tour get thrown a few scraps. Do those three autumn tournaments constitute the scraps from the PGA table to further strengthen the so-far underwhelming strategic alliance?

We await Pelley’s response with much interest. Any time you’re ready Keith.

Interesting quote from Monahan when he said:

“I am not naive. If this is an arms race and if the only weapons are dollar bills, the PGA Tour can’t compete with a foreign monarchy spending billions of dollars trying to buy the game of golf.”

And yet, Monahan’s answer to try to stop more “rebels” like Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Keven Na, Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell and others from defecting to the Saudi-backed LIV Tour is to throw even more dollars at his circuit, on top of the extra money he's already invested.

Don’t you wish you were an elite golfer right now?

If Monahan openly admits he can’t compete with Saudi cash, then imagine Pelley's position. Despite DP World creating a tour worth “north of $200 million", it just isn’t enough in this age of astronomical prize money.”

And what of those European rebels who’ve already jumped to LIV? I count 10 teeing it up in this week’s BMW International Open in Munich. I hear the German sponsors told Pelley in no uncertain terms they wouldn’t look on too kindly if he moved to ban the rebels from competing in the €2 million tournament, the same message Pelley allegedly received from Nedbank Golf Challenge organisers: ban top South African stars at your peril.

Talk about being between a rock and a hard place. Actually, make that trapped between the LIV Everest of greenbacks, the other a mere 6,000 metre peak of stacked wads that is the PGA Tour.

You don’t need a PhD in economics to see the bind Pelley and the European Tour is in. They’ve pledged allegiance to the suits in Ponte Vedra yet the announcement Monahan made yesterday surely means more trouble for the old world circuit? Scheduling DP World Tour events for European PGA Tour-based players was already hard enough. It’s going to get harder because of Monahan’s announcement. Europe’s top stars are even more likely to pick the richer American events rather than European tournaments. That's going to make it difficult for Pelley to attract big money sponsors.

You only have to look at next week’s Irish Open to come to the above conclusion. It’s a $6 million tournament. Shane Lowry is in the field along with Tyrrell Hatton and Thomas Pieters. No Rory McIlroy, newly crowned US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick, Justin Rose, Jon Rahm, Tommy Fleetwood or Viktor Hovland. That’s not a knock on the above, especially Rory who has done much for his national Open. The aforementioned can only play so many events; they’re going to choose the strongest ones that bring the most world ranking points.

So unless Monahan and Pelley have agreed to some yet to be announced European participation in those Autumn events then the DP World Tour is going to struggle even more to compete in this current arms race.

It's hard to take down F-15 and B52 bombers with an air rifle.

Wanted: Extremely rich sugar daddy, or mommy, to splash unlimited wads of cash on the European Tour, now the DP World Tour. All enquiries please to Mr Keith Pelley, European Tour Chief Executive, European Tour Headquarters, Wentworth Drive, Virginia Water, Surrey, England GU25 4LX.

#JustSaying: “I would like to see the PGA Tour and the European Tour start to work more closely together and maybe try to forge a path to where all the biggest golf events in the world are under the same umbrella,” Rory McIlroy


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