Keith Pelley: Co-sanctioning of three events ‘important first step’ in alliance

European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley has hailed the co-sanctioning of three tournaments with the PGA Tour in 2022 as an “important first step” in the strategic alliance between the organisations.

Pelley and PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan also made it clear they have no intention of speaking to the organisers of the proposed breakaway Premier Golf League.

From next year, the Barbasol Championship, Barracuda Championship and Genesis Scottish Open will count towards both the European Tour’s Race to Dubai and PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup standings.

The Genesis Scottish Open (July 7-10) will remain a Rolex Series event and retains its coveted place in the schedule ahead of the Open Championship until at least 2025. The field will be split between members of both Tours.

Genesis will take over the title sponsorship of the event from abrdn, with the venue for the event, which has been staged at the Renaissance Club for the last three years, yet to be confirmed.

Fifty European Tour members will be able to contest the Barbasol Championship and Barracuda Championship, which will be played in the same week as the Genesis Scottish Open and 150th Open Championship respectively.

Min Woo Lee
Min Woo Lee won the 2021 abrdn Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club (Jane Barlow/PA)

Pelley said: “When Jay and I announced the strategic alliance last November, it came with a commitment from both of us to work together for the betterment of the game. I believe we have done just that.

“It also came with an intent to strengthen an ecosystem that has served golf so well for the past 50 years, and today I believe is a tangible example of both these elements. It also shows exactly what we can achieve together. It’s an important first step. There is much more to come from this alliance.”

It was also announced on Tuesday that prize money for the Irish Open will increase to GBP 4.3million from next year, up from GBP 2.5million in 2021.

Monahan described the announcement as “just the beginning of what our future product model will look like” as the PGA Tour also released its full schedule for 2021/22, featuring just two World Golf Championships events instead of four.

The WGC-FedEx St Jude Championship has been promoted to the first FedEx Cup play-off event, while the WGC-Mexico Championship is demoted to a full-field regular PGA Tour event.

Pelley insisted that the alliance with the PGA Tour was not about countering the threat posed by potential breakaway leagues, with both he and Monahan firmly stating they had no intention of meeting PGL chief executive Andy Gardiner.

Gardiner told the PA news agency in June that he wanted “consultation” with the European Tour and PGA Tour over how they could be part of the “ownership structure” of the PGL.

“It wasn’t about fending off any competitors,” Pelley added. “What it was about was our desire to grow and build on the ecosystem that has served this game for the last 50 years.

“We believe that if we serve all our members as members’ organisations, if we continue to provide the value for the stakeholders, if we continue to think about what is good for the ecosystem and for the consumers, I think everything else takes care of itself.”