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Another month, another bold idea from European Tour chief Keith Pelley.
The European Tour chief hasn’t ruled out the possibility of matches between ‘rival’ countries being introduced in the coming years – with the clash between England and Scotland an obvious one to kick things off.
It was one of a number of topics the Canadian addressed during a press conference at the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, which also included:
• The possibility of a world tour
• Helping out the Ladies European Tour
• Recapping the first year of the Rolex Series
On… ‘rival’ matches
“I think those are the conversations that we’re having now. Those are the conversations that we’re having because our individual stakeholders and partners are looking for content that appeals to their audience.
“So rivalry matchups, obviously, you see that, you see the tribal nature of what occurs at the Ryder Cup. Would you love to duplicate that in a non-team sport more often? Absolutely.”
On… a world tour
“There’s been a lot of conversation about a world tour. You know, my feeling is I’ve been in the role two years here. Jay Monahan [PGA Tour commissioner, below] has been in the role one year. I don’t know if it is a high priority for him. It hasn’t been a high priority for me at this point.
“Does it make sense to look at it at some point down the road? Perhaps. If, in fact, it is something that all our players want us to investigate, we would have a fiduciary responsibility to look at it. Would we have conversations with all the other tours? Absolutely. Sure. If it is the best way to grow the game of golf globally and it works for us as a members’ organisation.
“Right now it is not our No.1 priority. I’m two years into my tenure
here. We’ve just launched the Rolex Series, which I believe is a game
changer for us. We have a lot of different things on the agenda now.
We’re heading into a Ryder Cup year.
“So the concept of a world tour, I understand, but I understand right
now, it is just a concept. Could it come to fruition down the road?
Perhaps. But that would be speculation.
On… the Ladies European Tour
“We tried to get involved, and David MacLaren [Senior Tour chief] actually presented to the LET board, along with Mike Whan from the LPGA, a couple of months ago. We had a three-way partnership between the LPGA, ourselves and the R&A.
“They have decided at this particular time to try to rebuild the LET on their own. But we have said to them, we are here whenever you need us. If you want us to get more involved, if you want us to become more financially involved, we are here.
“What’s very important for us is that ladies’ golf in Europe grows, and I believe that it’s growing at the grassroots level, but it needs to grow at the professional level, to use those ladies as wonderful role models.”
On… the Rolex Series
“I think the Rolex Series was a monumental step in making that a viable alternative [to the PGA Tour].
“I think the reality is, there is 150 72-hole golf tournaments around the world when you look at all the different tours. So the choices that the players have are enormous. And what we have done with the creation of the Rolex Series is provide a wonderful option for the top players and they’ve embraced it.
“And when you look at the actual field – for example, the weeks of HNA Open de France, the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open: Those three weeks, if a top 20 player played golf, they played on our tour. And that’s something we’re incredibly proud of.”
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