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Ever since respected golf journalist Geoff Shackelford broke news of it last week, the golf world has been a-buzz with talk of a tour to rival the PGA Tour.
A proposed ‘World Tour’ is nothing new, of course. Greg Norman first suggested such a concept almost 20 years ago.
However, now, it looks like it might actually happen in the form of the Premier Golf League – and potentially as soon as 2022.
We know you’ll have questions so we’ve attempted to answer them below. Got any others? Leave them in our Comments section and we’ll do our best to look into them…
What is the Premier Golf League?
In short, it’s another professional golf tour and appears to be a realisation of long-mooted plans for a world tour.
What form would it take?
It is believed that the tour would comprise an 18-event schedule, starting in 2022 and running from January to September. Each event would be 54 holes, have no cut, be restricted to 48-player fields and be worth an eye-popping $10m. It has also reportedly been proposed that each event has a shotgun start to shorten the tournament day and it is thought that it would conclude with a season-ending team championship.
That’s correct. It’s thought that the Premier Golf League would contain a Formula One style complement, whereby players would be signed to teams, complete with managers, signings, transfers and so on.
The PGA Tour is already hugely successful, highly lucrative and well-established – why would anybody try to take it on?
Evidently, the Premier Golf League thinks that the current structure
of the PGA Tour is flawed. Principally, it thinks that the top players
in the game do not currently play against one another often enough. It
also thinks that it can offer an improved televisual experience –
interestingly, the PGA Tour’s current TV deal expires in 2022 – and can
do more to grow the game at all levels.
Who’s behind it?
That’s a great question, and one that nobody seems to have an answer for. So far, the only official information has come from an unnamed email account purporting to represent Premier Golf League Limited, which describes itself as a subsidiary of the equally ambiguous World Golf Group Limited. There has been some speculation that the venture is being funded in part by money from Saudi Arabia. Other reports say that the Tokyo-based Softbank is involved as well as private equity investment firms in the US. However, all of this is so far uncorroborated.
What is the Premier Golf League Limited saying?
Not a great deal other than this brief statement, issued on Friday:
There has been significant media speculation relating to our plans to
launch The League, a new professional golf format that will be comprised
of 18 events per season. Some of that speculation, including details of
the proposed format and our financial backers, is inaccurate. While we
do not wish to comment further at this time, we would like to say that
it is our intention to work with, rather than challenge, existing tours
for the betterment of golf as a sport, pastime and media property, and
we have partnered with the Raine Group to help make this vision a
reality. We appreciate the interest and look forward to providing
everyone with further details.” The Raine Group, incidentally, is a
multi-national firm which claims to be “an integrated merchant bank
advising and investing in high growth sectors of technology, media and
What do the players think?
None of them are ruling out getting involved, put it that way. Phil Mickelson thinks it’s “intriguing”. Rory McIlroy hopes it can be “the catalyst for something a little bit different” on the PGA Tour. Dustin Johnson thinks it “sounds interesting”. World No.1 Brooks Koepka said: “When things are more finalised and put in stone and I understand it and I exactly know where things are falling, then I’ll be probably one of the first ones to make a choice or figure out what I’m going to do.”
And the PGA Tour?
Well, it’s not happy, as you might expect. Its commissioner, Jay Monahan, issued a missive to all member players this week regarding the proposed new development, the crux of which is believed to be: It’s either them or us.
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