By Fred Altvater
Last month Reuters reported that a new World Golf Tour is in the planning stages that will conduct 15-20 events with $20 million purses. The average purse for a regular PGA Tour event is $6 million. With exception of the eight Rolex Series Tournaments on the European Tour, purse sizes in Europe hover around $2-3 Million. A new tour offering as much as 10 times more in prize money, could be a big draw for the top tour professionals and a drain on the PGA and European Tours talent pool.
The new tour wants to hold tournaments globally, which would seem to conflict with the European Tour events, which already span the globe.
The key here is funding and the World Golf Group based in Britain is pursuing large corporations for sponsorships. They are also negotiating with players and their agents to secure commitments to join their tour.
If you hold an event offering $20 million in total purse, I’m guessing more than a few professionals will be willing to tee it up for a piece of the pie.
PGA Tour Commissioner, Jay Monahan was asked if a World Golf Tour is a possibility and he told BBC Sport,
“The game is in a pretty remarkable time and a coming together of rival tours is a possibility.”
Monahan also knows that the ‘15 appearance rule’ to maintain PGA Tour membership and the ‘12 tournament rule’ for the European Tour will hopefully keep the top talent in check.
A recent example of a player entering a tournament, he would rather have not have had to play, involved Justin Rose at the Ft. Worth Championship last month. Rose was forced to skip the BMW PGA, one of the European Tour’s leading events, held in London, to meet the “one year in four” rule on PGA Tour. One of the criteria to maintain PGA Tour status is to play in an event at least once every four years.
It all turned out well for Rose as he won the tournament, but the European Tour was the big loser as one of its top names and an Englishman to boot, was AWOL from one of its biggest events.
Greg Norman had the original idea for a world tour featuring large purses and inviting only the best players, in the mid-1990’s. The PGA Tour came up with the four World Golf Championship events and Norman’s World Golf Tour lost traction.
At a time when Fortune 500 and International Corporations are pinching every penny and need to account for every dollar spent on marketing, can the mega-sponsors be found that will fund a new World Golf Tour?
When the top players are already committed to either the PGA Tour or European Tour and must meet a quota of a certain number of events every year, how can a new tour entice the top players to leave the PGA or European Tours?
If you Pay Them…..They Will Come!