It’s no secret that the European Tour is finding it increasingly difficult to keep its top stars playing in its tournaments – particularly in non-Ryder Cup years.
Justin Rose skipped the season-ending DP World Tour Championship last month, while Rory McIlroy said he may not fulfill his European Tour membership in 2019.
By comparison, on the PGA Tour, its profile continues to heighten and prize funds continue to soar, making it increasingly tough for the European Tour to compete.
Take the BMW PGA Championship, for example, which has moved to after the conclusion of the FedEx Cup in September instead of May next year due to the move of the US PGA Championship and the packed PGA Tour schedule.
According to report in The Times, Keith Pelley is fully aware of this and has ‘held talks’ on a ‘conceptual level’ with PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan numerous times this year over the possibility of a ‘World Tour’ and. In the process, he is said to have 'rowed' with Thomas Bjorn, although the pair are now said to have reconciled.
“We [Pelley and Monahan] share similar thoughts,” Pelley told The Times. “Putting together a world tour would be so complex that you have to start with conceptual conversations. Jay and I are partners in that and in our mutual desire to grow the game globally.”
However, Bjorn – who served as chairman of the European Tour Players Committee up until being named the 2018 Ryder Cup captain – doesn't want the tour to lose its independence and become an affiliate of the PGA Tour.
“The European Tour has a responsibility to protect the professional game in Europe and that is proving increasingly difficult,” said the Dane.
Other tour board members, including chairman David Williams and chairman of the nominations committee, David Jones, say players would likely resist a ‘World Tour’.
“There are strong feelings, and Thomas is one of the most vocal, that the European Tour should never lose its independence,” they said.
“For any takeover or merger to happen, 75% of the players have got to vote for it. That would be very tough.”
What do you think the future holds for the European Tour?
Would you like to see a 'World Tour'? Or do you agree with Thomas Bjorn that the European Tour should never lose its independence? Let us know in the 'Comments' section below.