While it is often argued that golf is one of the most boring and hardest to watch sports in the world, it has never been said that the prizes winners receive are cheap. And that talk certainly won’t start now with the changes that the European Tour just implemented.
The PGA TOUR has obviously undergone quite a few changes this season in the rules department and also did a lot to shake up the tournament schedule for the season. That has allowed changes on the European Tour to go a bit under the radar. They have also adapted to the changes to the Rules of Golf but also just approved the largest top prize for a professional golf tournament ever.
The changes that the PGA TOUR implemented seem to have scared some players off from playing on the European Tour because of scheduling conflicts. Typically, the top players from Europe will participate in the bigger tournaments of the year but some of Europe’s best, including Rory McIlroy has stated that they will cut back on events in Europe to focus on the PGA TOUR. Money looks to be the way the European Tour will counter this problem.
Francesco Molinari of Italy is presented the Race to Dubai trophy from HE Mattar Al Tayer as HE Sheikh Fahim Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Emirates Golf Federation, European Tour CEO Keith Pelley and… Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images
The best way to lure in the best players in the world for events is either through offering tournaments that bring major prestige or to offer the greatest prizes. Since the PGA TOUR has the former, the European Tour is going after the latter. It was announced that the DP World Tour Championships in Dubai at the end of the year will carry a top prize of $3 million. That’s more than double the prize last year and a million dollars more than the previous record, the $2.1 million payouts at the U.S. Open this June.
The DP World Tour Championships aren’t the only tournaments getting a boost either. The Rolex Series, basically the European Tour’s World Golf Championships, will see prizes of $2 million for the winner of the Turkish Airlines Open and $2.5 million for the winner of the South Africa tournament. Rules were also altered to only give bonuses to the top five players at the end of the year, rather than the top ten. That’s likely to entice players to play in Europe enough to qualify for those bonuses, ditching some PGA TOUR events.
It was obvious that the European Tour was in trouble when the PGA TOUR announced its schedule changes this year but they are certainly fighting back. It will be interesting to see this year now how players will choose to play out their own schedules and if any will jump to Europe more than anticipated.
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