Omega-European Masters 2011 Switzerland

It is the end of the season for the European Tour and already we know that Rory McIlroy will be crowned Europe’s top golfer, regardless of the tournament in Dubai.

Not that McIlroy needed any encouragement to take it easy, shooting a first round -6 under par to hold the lead with fellow Irishman Shane Lowry. It’s all rather easy for the Irishman at the minute. Perhaps he could do it in his sleep?

Yet it can’t be denied that already knowing who will be crowned the European Tour’s finest does diminish from the end of season event and this is in sharp contrast to what happens at the end of each season in the United States.

 

Rory-McIlroy sleeping mouth open

 

Here, Fedex Cup points give the season additional meaning and provide for four exciting weeks of golf, where one player can come through the ranks and claim the top prize as Billy Horschel did this season.

It is also plainly evident that while the cream of the European tour are desperate to qualify for a chance at the $10m top prize in the Fedex Cup, there is a singular lack of American golfers desperate to get into the European PGA’s grand finale.

 

It’s hard to put that down to apathy from our American cousins either, several top players have been in action in other tournaments around the globe in the past few weeks. We just have to face facts that the European Tour holds little of interest to American’s outside a select few ranking events and of course, the British Open.

 

George O’Grady resigned as chief executive of the European Tour in November this year after nine years in charge, but over those 9 years it is fair to say that the quality on the European Tour has undergone something of a decline.

Now many of the top European players, Henrik Stenson, Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Justin Rose and more, will firmly have their sights set mainly on the American tour, while preserving their European privileges by playing in as few tournaments as possible. If they can even be bothered to retain that privilege. Rose gave it up a few years ago.

 

Justin Rose J golfer

 

 

Of course, their absence means that more up and coming golfers are getting a chance on the European Tour, but there is a real danger that many players will see the European Tour as a stepping stone onto the greater riches and seemingly more alluring fairways of the American Tour.

It shouldn’t be that way really. Europe has exerted a dominance over America in Ryder Cup like it has never experienced before and players like Sergio Garcia, Martin Kaymer, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Henrik Stenson and Rory McIlroy have all been regulars inside the world’s top 20.

 

The problem for the European Tour is, unfortunately nothing they can resolve easily. It is simply that in the world of golf, the vast majority of the top events that the biggest players want to play in are based in America.

Of four majors, three are based each year in the United States.  Three of the four World Golf Championship events (Cadillac Championship, Cadillac Match Play and the Bridgestone Invitational) are held in America. The self-styled ‘fifth major’ the Players Championship is held in America and of course, all the Fedex Cup events are held there too.

 

What do Europe or indeed the rest of the world have in opposition to that? One Major championship, one WGC event in China and the BMW PGA Championship; and there’s a few American’s who aren’t too bothered about making the trip over for that tournament. Volvo have announced their pulling out of sponsoring the World Match Play at the end of this season. That’s not a great situation to be in.

 

VolvoV40J

 

 

George O’Grady left his role stating that the European Tour was in the finest shape it has ever been and certainly in terms of finance, that may be the case. However this does overlook the fact that America is fast becoming the black-hole of golf, swallowing up all the top tournaments, players and the bigger paydays.

 

For George O’Grady’s successor, his challenge will be to try and equalise this balance. On the plus side, with emerging markets in China, Japan, South Africa and Australia, the European Tour may have several allies who want a few more of the top quality events held away from the land of the free.

 

Because if they don’t then all other world tours run the risk over the next few years of simply becoming a Q-School for the USPGA Tour.

 

 

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Jamie May 20, 2019

Monetary advisors enterprise is people enterprise.

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