European chief admits concern
Last updated: 22nd November 2012
As more big names move to the USA, European Tour chief executive George O'Grady admits there is cause for concern.
Martin Kaymer and Nicolas Colsaerts announced on Wednesday that they would be joining the PGA Tour next year where they will be joined by Ryder Cup team-mate Peter Hanson and PGA Championship runner-up David Lynn.
Luke Donald, Ian Poulter, Justin Rose and Graeme McDowell are already based in the USA and they will now be joined by Lee Westwood who has moved to Florida.
The increasing number of European players plying their trade abroad suggests an increase in quality but it provides the European Tour with reason to worry as they struggle to provide big money prizes in a struggling economy.
"We are concerned, but not panicking," said O'Grady. "We have to improve our game back here in heartland Europe, make our tournaments better and that also means richer. We don't seem to have any problem on the structure in the game in Europe developing the talent. But you want to see more of your talent as much as you can."
For Colsaerts, the chance to take on a greater challenge was the primary motivating factor for his departure.
"It's a stronger tour and you have the best players in America," said the Belgian. "This is perfect timing for me. I've had a pretty good year over here and it's maybe time to have a taste of somewhere else, see if I like it and see if it it's the tour I will be playing for the next couple of years."
Ryder Cup star Ian Poulter admits that the financial limitations in Europe are a problem.
"It's a tough situation for the tour to be in, and I really hope there's a plan to help the tour get more big sponsors," he said.
"Obviously, Europe in general as a continent is struggling. There's not much money and it's very hard to convince sponsors to put big tournaments on. I don't think that trend is going to change just yet."
Luke Donald pointed to the increasing number of events in Asia as a determining factor, but world number one Rory McIlroy is confident that the Tour will not be too hard hit.
"I think with the way golf has gone, you can be a global player and you can play all over the world," said McIlroy.
"I don't think anyone is going to neglect the European Tour.
"The European Tour gave me a lot of opportunities coming through, and it's something that I'll never forget and something that I'll always hold onto."
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