Report: PGA Tour makes “audacious” bid for European Tour

For years, Miguel Angel Jimenez has stayed in Europe, only coming to North America for big events.

For years, Miguel Angel Jimenez has stayed in Europe, only coming to North America for big events. Courtesy: http://www.tourprogolfclubs.com

Well, this is a bit of interesting news, isn’t it? James Corrigan from the Daily Telegraph has the details, and I recommend the read. The gist of it all, not surprisingly, comes down to money, as the purses on the PGA Tour have consistently dwarfed those that are given out in Europe, even for their biggest events. The European Tour has been struggling financially, which has led to the lower purses in recent years.
 
Corrigan cites the example of the 100th highest paid players on each tour, with Richard Bland collecting roughly $264,000 in Europe, while Martin Kaymer has picked up over $785,000 on the PGA Tour. For the record, Bland isn’t exactly struggling financially, but you can see why so many of Europe’s best players have decided to make the trip over to North America when that much money is on the table. Guys like Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter have all been playing less and less in Europe, and while they sometimes say that it has to do with preparing for the major championships considering that three of the four are held here, you’d have to think that the finances has played a part in this as well.
 
So, why would the PGA Tour be interested in buying the European Tour? It’s an added layer in their attempt to conquer the golf landscape, that’s for sure. They already purchased the Canadian Tour last year and re-branded it to go along with their Latin American Tour, so this would solidify their dominance without question. The interesting thing that Corrigan brings up though is the desire for the PGA Tour to get in on the Ryder Cup, which is currently a joint operation between the European Tour and the PGA of America. The sheer amount of money that the Ryder Cup brings in could be worth it alone for the PGA Tour, so it makes sense from that end as well.
 
What would this mean in the grand scheme of things? Nobody’s saying anything right now, but PGA Tour Canada and PGA Tour Latinoamerica have kept pretty much the same schedule, and are being run as usual, so if this were to happen, the European Tour might just operate independently under the PGA Tour umbrella. Some kind of hybrid tour would be interesting, especially if it meant that the best players got to play on Europe’s best courses like Wentworth and Le Golf National, but that is probably needlessly complicated, at least for now.
 
For their part, the PGA Tour isn’t saying much about the whole thing.

 
I won’t be surprised one way or the other, but Elling’s right, that isn’t a denial of the story. I’m assuming we’re going to be hearing more about this in the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned.

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