Lucrative World Golf Series could threaten PGA Tour dominance
A new global golf tour, with lucrative tournament purses, is on the discussion table in what would pose a major threat to the status of the US PGA Tour.
The World Golf Series, proposed by the UK-based World Golf Group, has been in the planning stages for more than a year, according to a report by Reuters.
It would likely consist of between 15 and 20 annual tournaments around the world, each offering a purse of close to $20 million. By contrast, the biggest purse on this season's PGA Tour is $11 million for The Players Championship, making it the richest non-Major tournament.
Several blue-chip sponsors are believed to be on board for the World Golf Series, if top players can be signed. Negotiations with agents, players, sponsors and media companies are under way.
The new tour is unlikely to be sanctioned for world ranking points, which would impact its viability, as ranking points are used to determine eligibility for the four Majors.
PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan has previously talked up the potential for a unified global tour via a merger with the European Tour.
He recently told the BBC, the UK's public-service broadcaster: "I certainly think it is something that everybody who is involved in the game should be aspiring to. If you look at what's in the best interests of the fan, best interests of the players, you could make the case for one global tour."
Late last year, European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley said a world tour was "just a concept" and not a high priority.
He said at the time: "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, if it is the best way to grow the game of golf globally and it works for us as a members' organisation."Since taking the European Tour reins in September 2015, Pelley has fought hard to stem the migration of the continent's top players to the PGA Tour. This has included the launch of the Rolex Series, eight existing tournaments branded under one umbrella, each with a minimum prize pot of $7 million.