European Tour

European Tour changes Final Series

2015-11-18 11:00
Golf (File)

Dubai - The European Tour has announced new membership regulations and a revamped Final Series for its new season.

A player will have to play just five tournaments during the season to remain a member of the European Tour, as against 13 that was the current mandatory requirement.

And the Final Series, which was introduced in 2013 and comprised of four tournaments, will become a three-event series in the 2016 Race to Dubai.

The WGC-HSBC Champions tournament in Shanghai will no longer be a part of the Final Series, while the BMW Masters, also held in Shanghai, is no longer part of the European Tour schedule.

The new Final Series will be the $7 million Turkish Airlines Open (November 3-6, 2016), the $7 million Nedbank Challenge (November 10-13) in South Africa and the $8 million DP World Tour Championship in Dubai (November 17-20).

The mandatory requirement cut is not as drastic as it sounds, with the only change being the exclusion of the four majors and the four World Golf Championship events as counting events.

The step has been taken to protect some of the leading European Tour members who are also part of the PGA Tour, but are ranked outside the top-50 of the world rankings - which does not guarantee them a start in all the majors and the WGCs.

Keith Pelley, Chief Executive of The European Tour, said on Tuesday ahead of the DP World Tour Championship: "We are in the midst of structuring our overall Tour in a more, what I call, players-first philosophy.

"That will be something that will be absolutely critical for us.

"After significant dialogue with all of our players, we have made a decision to move from 13 to five, excluding the four majors and the four World Golf Championships.

"So our players now have to play in five events, as opposed to 13.

"But it really just simply excludes the WGCs and the majors.

"One of the reasons was simple, it is to help some of the players that have been entrenched in the US. And it certainly came to light and came to the forefront after what transpired in Hong Kong with Ian Poulter.

"And him having to race around to play in Hong Kong, to make sure that he got those events.

"This, I believe, will allow our players to schedule more efficiently at the beginning of the year, so they know exactly how they are going to maintain their membership.

"This change will benefit them and enable them to continue to remain in membership with us in what are extremely exciting times for the European Tour.

The new schedule will feature 45 tournaments in 25 different countries, including three special events - the EurAsia Cup (January 14-17), the Olympic Games (August 11-14) and the Ryder Cup (September 30-October 2).

The change in the Final Series has been prompted by BMW dropping the sponsorship of the Masters in Shanghai, and also the fact that many top-ranked players in the Race to Dubai are not able to gain an entry into the WGC-HSBC Champions field.

As a result of becoming a part of the Final Series, the Nedbank Challenge field in Sun City will now be increased to 72 players from the current 30.

Pelley did not disclose much about the other important issue facing his organisation - the proposed merger of the Asian and European Tour membership - saying that the talks were on track and that the parties were bound by a non disclosure agreement.

"We have had terrific conversations with the Asian Tour. We can’t disclose too much information, but the conversations have been incredibly positive," he said.

Pelley added that both sides were looking at a deadline of the end of 2016 for the proposed merger.

Read more on:    european tour  |  golf


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