Will the PGA and European Tours soon merge into a World Tour?

Could a ‘World Tour’ really come to pass one day? European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley certainly seems to be leaning in that direction.

While Pelley stopped short of saying there will be a World Tour in place in the near future, he did say it was a real possibility, as closer co-operation with the dominant PGA Tour in America is the way forward for the global game.

“I don’t know the reasons why the relationship was strained between us and the PGA Tour in the past, but it’s certainly changed now,” Pelley said. “I have an excellent relationship with Jay (Monahan, the CEO for the PGA Tour) and we are talking right now about how we can work closer together.

“Jay and I are more colleagues than would have been the case with our predecessors. We’re still running our respective tours, we’re both members’ organisations but there needs to be somewhere down the line where we strategically align far better than we’re doing now.

“Does that mean a World Tour down the road? Potentially, but let’s start having good, positive conversations now.”

The European Tour struggles to compete with the behemoth that is the PGA Tour on the other side of the Atlantic. Because of the money on offer in America, and because so many of the world’s best players are based there, golf’s A-listers overwhelmingly choose to ply their trade on the PGA Tour.

It seems Pelley and his European Tour colleagues are leaning towards not trying to beat their American counterparts, but joining them.

Monday’s announcement of the 2019 European Tour schedule also show the first signs of a departure for the European Tour in the way in which it tries to compete with its American counterpart.

Three Rolex Series events — the BMW PGA at Wentworth, and the French and Italian Opens — were all moved to more favourable autumn dates, when there is less competition stateside.

“The way I see it, there are four points in the year where we can generate excellent fields on our tour,” said Pelley. “You’ve got the Middle East at the start of the year, July in Europe, after the FedEx Cup finishes in America in August, and then the end of the year.”

If things continue along this path, it’s certainly not inconceivable that we could soon end up with a global tour of some sort, an amalgation of the PGA and European Tour that takes players from the Middle East, to the USA, Europe and Asia.