The Premier Golf League is still keen to go ahead with tournaments despite the new PGA and European Tour strategic alliance
Premier Golf League Not Backing Down Despite Huge Hurdles
Despite the recent strategic alliance announced between the PGA and European Tours, the Premier Golf League is “pressing ahead with plans for a series of events on both sides of the Atlantic,” the Guardian reports.
The Guardian also reported earlier this year that the European Tour turned down a $200m offer from the PGL to go ahead with its planned alliance with the PGA Tour.
The offer would have allowed the tour to remain independent and have a stake in the PGL.
The Premier Golf League promised to be the F1 of golf, starting in 2022 or 2023 with huge prize funds and an initially-proposed eight-month calendar with 48 players.
We thought that the new strategic alliance would lead to a more unified ‘world tour’ and the Premier Golf League would back down, especially after McIlroy, Rahm and Koepka all dismissed it.
However, it seems that plans are still going ahead for the PGL, which asks the question – which players will actually play in it?
Phil Mickelson is the most high-profile player to have expressed interest but PGA Tour Commisioner Jay Monahan was adamant that players cannot be members of both the PGA Tour and Premier Golf League.
Henrik Stenson and Adam Scott have also not dismissed the PGL.
With the European Tour turning down the huge offer from the PGL’s Raine Group financers and Jay Monahan’s stance, it is quite clear that both tours have absolutely zero interest in working with the PGL.
Both tours, especially the PGA Tour, make their members multi, multi-millionaires so it does seem difficult to fathom how the PGL can steal some of the world’s best players.
The PGA and European Tours have history and prestige, offer world ranking points and have access to Majors and, in the European Tour’s case, the Ryder Cup.
It really does remain to be seen if the PGL can entice big name players across, but these players have guaranteed starts, pensions and dozens of opportunities each year to win cheques in excess of $1m.
The players also, as independent contractors, have the luxury of being able to plan their own schedules and not having to tie themselves into anything – one of the deciding factors as to why Rory McIlroy turned the PGL down.
The biggest draw in golf, Tiger Woods, would at least stay on with the PGA Tour until he wins his 83rd title, and after that his playing days will be very limited due to injuries.
With McIlroy, Koepka and Rahm out, the PGL will turn to the likes of Justin Thomas, Bryson DeChambeau and Collin Morikawa – would they really be keen to ditch the glories of the PGA Tour?
I can’t quite get my head around it at the moment.
Once the PGL finds some players, it will then need to get round the minefield that is the global schedule, with four Majors, four WGCs, the FedEx Cup Playoffs, Race to Dubai finale and huge events including The Players Championship and the BMW PGA Championship.
They’ll also have to secure broadcast rights.
In the US, the PGA Tour has recently announced a huge deal with CBS Sports, NBC Sports and ESPN until 2030.
In the UK, golf is one of Sky Sports’ biggest showpieces outside of the football juggernaut – although the contract is up in 2022.
Discovery also paid the PGA Tour $2bn just a couple of years ago for 12-years worth of international rights via GOLFTV.
I’m certainly not dismissing the PGL right now, as we all know that money talks and they’re not backing down…but it has some huge hurdles to overcome if it is ever to challenge the PGA and European Tour giants.
It will be interesting to see how this one plays out.
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