PGA and European tours unveil 13-year joint venture

WASHINGTON: The PGA Tour and European Tour announced a 13-year operational joint venture on Tuesday, uniting in a tighter alliance to combat the new Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series.

The new partnership through 2035 follows a strategic alliance unveiled last November that saw co-sanctioning of the Scottish Open, Barbasol Championship and Barracuda Championship events to provide more playing opportunities.

There will also be a defined path for players to move from the European Tour to the PGA Tour.

From 2023, the top 10 players in the season-ending European Tour rankings will earn PGA Tour cards for the following season.

"We are thrilled with today's announcement of this expanded partnership," PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

"We will continue to collaborate on a global schedule and key commercial areas as we draw our organizations and memberships even closer together while innovating to provide the most entertaining and compelling golf possible to fans around the world."

The move is also aimed at boosting prize money on both tours and comes as LIV Golf has lured away top players with the richest purses in golf history.

LIV Golf debuted in England earlier this month and its second event is set to tee off Thursday at Pumpkin Ridge in Oregon.

They feature 54-hole formats with shotgun starts and team and individual competitions.

Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka, Phil Mickelson and Sergio Garcia are among the players who have opted for LIV Golf despite concerns over human rights issues by the Saudi financiers.

The PGA Tour banned 17 members and former members who played in the first LIV event and warned that more indefinite suspensions would follow for players taking part in subsequent tournaments.

In the wake of more recent player departures, the PGA announced plans for higher prize money in several events and three new international tournaments with large purses.

As part of the new joint venture, the PGA Tour will increase its stake in European Tour Productions from 15 percent to 40 percent.

The European Tour "will guarantee growth in annual prize funds to its membership for the next five years, all above the record 2022 levels", according to a news release from the tours.

"This move will significantly enhance the meritocracy that has successfully served the professional game on both sides of the Atlantic for more than 50 years," said Keith Pelley, European Tour chief executive officer.

"Today's announcement strengthens both tours for the betterment of both memberships...

"I passionately believe that this move is the right thing for our players, our tour, our fans and the game of golf in general."--AFP

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