Compleat Golfer’s playing editor discusses how unity among the world Tours benefits everyone.
A few years back, we had the first taste of separate Tours coming together to create an alliance. That was when the European Tour and Asian Tour formed a partnership where both Tours would benefit. This may have been the first time something like that had happened, but it would be the first of many.
While this partnership worked, and worked well for both Tours, there was always a sense that it was a last-ditch
effort to try to compete with the PGA Tour in the US. Which, of course, is no small task.
The PGA Tour is the benchmark. It’s the Boss. Plain and simple. The American golfing market controls the world. The reason prize funds are what they are is because of the broadcast fees from the US. The PGA Tour is fully aware of its power, and has always used it to benefit it and its members.
That is why the PGA Tour has long considered a strategy where it becomes a world Tour. It purchased mini-Tours in China, Canada and Latin America and was looking further afield. So, when the European Tour partnered with the Asian Tour, there was definitely a sense of disruption to their plan.
Then, with the ink barely dried on the PGA Tour’s new multi-year broadcast deal, Covid-19 hit. The PGA Tour was able to ride out the storm, keeping prize money high and the TV deals in place.
In Europe it was different. Because the European Tour had to deal with so many different governments, it made tournaments almost impossible to put together. This weakened the European Tour’s grip on the golfing markets. It needed something.
That something happened in 2020. The PGA and European Tours finally decided to start working together. The PGA Tour bought a share in the European Tour’s media rights, with the intention of working with the folks in Europe instead of competing against them.
I think this is the best thing to happen to professional golf. Having all the professional bodies around the world working together to create the best tournaments, with the best players competing on the best courses, just makes sense.
As a result of this partnership, the 2022 Scottish Open will be an official PGA Tour event. This marks the first major step of this newfound friendship. There will also be spots in PGA Tour events for members of the European Tour, giving them the opportunity to show their game in the
land of Stars and Stripes.
Overall, this new partnership is going to grow the game of golf to a new extreme. Golf fans will be spoiled on a weekly basis with the best golfers playing at the biggest events. After all, that’s all us golf nuts want – to watch some really good golf.
– Follow Compleat Golfer’s playing editor on Twitter @BrandonMStone and on Instagram at @brandonmstone.
– This column first appeared in the September 2021 issue of Compleat Golfer magazine. The October 2021 issue is on sale now.
Photo: Ross Parker/SNS Group via Getty Images
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