PGA Tour Reportedly Launches Bid To Take Over European Tour Amid Player Discontent
The PGA Tour has made an "audacious bid to take over the European Tour as concerns grow among the professionals over the lack of playing and financial opportunities on the circuit," according to James Corrigan of the London TELEGRAPH. There have been three straight "blank weeks on the European Tour’s calendar," and "inevitably this had led to discontent among the rank and file" on the Tour. But the "dissension even runs as high as the Tournament Players Committee," with committee member Paul Casey "prepared to voice his frustrations." Casey said, “There are so many good things about the European Tour and it can be such an unbelievable product given the places we go to, and the players we have. But we are so far from maximising what we have and we need to freshen things up. It needs some new energy." Corrigan writes the issue is "reaching its head largely because of the incredible turnaround in fortunes in the past few years." The European Tour when the recession hit "seemed in a strong position with Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy refusing to join the PGA Tour and with the banking crisis threatening so many tournament sponsorships" in the U.S. But with the "collapse of the euro, the continent has been transformed into a golfing wasteland as far as professional events are concerned, and with Dubai also encountering economic uncertainty, the much vaunted Race To Dubai has looked increasingly frail, with prize money and the bonus pool being substantially reduced." As a "by-product of running the European Tour, the PGA Tour would achieve its long-held objective of gaining control of at least half of the cash cow which is the Ryder Cup" (London TELEGRAPH, 8/13). In London, Derek Lawrenson writes the PGA Tour’s bid "clearly fits in" with its global strategy. They have "already bought the Canadian Tour -- now known as PGA Tour Canada -- own a version in Latin America and have turned up the heat on the European Tour in one of its heartlands these days: Asia" (London DAILY MAIL, 8/13).