European Tour chief executive George O’Grady yesterday said “collaboration” with the PGA Tour would continue after both organisations stated that reports of an attempted buyout were incorrect.
Various reports claimed the US tour had made a bid for its European counterpart as frustration from players on this side of the Atlantic grows with the state of the game.
European Tour chief operating officer Keith Waters said on Tuesday: “The notion that the PGA Tour is somehow bidding to buy the European Tour is incorrect.”
And O’Grady today added: “The European Tour has collaborated with the PGA Tour and all other members of the International Federation of PGA Tours on many ventures since we worked together on the formation of the World Golf Championships in 1999. This collaboration will continue.
“Over the past two weeks, 35 European Tour members played in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational while 58 competed in the US PGA Championship.
During the BMW PGA Championship in May, Lee Westwood called on the European Tour and PGA Tour to co-ordinate their tournaments to ensure more players did not stay in the “comfort zone” of the United States.
Westwood and 10 of his Ryder Cup team-mates from the ‘Miracle at Medinah’ competed at Wentworth — only Peter Hanson missed out due to a back injury — but that was the only one of the season’s 46 events being staged in England in 2013, compared to six in South Africa and three in China, with 21 events being held in Europe and 25 outside.
Waters said yesterday that the players were already having more input into the schedule, adding: “There is going to be more dialogue with them. We are going to try to plan further ahead.
“The PGA Tour is competition for us and it’s healthy because it keeps us on our toes and trying to up our game all the time, but there are times when the Europeans will come back and play and we are going to work around that.
“We don’t necessarily want all of the players to play in the same tournaments. We want to spread them around.
Despite the current parlous financial climate, Waters also reported that the European Tour is positive about the future, with the inaugural Final Series at the end of the year offering a combined prize pool of more than €23million.
That includes the €5.3m Turkish Airlines Open the week before the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, with world No 1 Tiger Woods already committed to taking part.
Responding to the reports of a buyout, PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said: “Certain news reports have indicated that the PGA Tour has made an offer to acquire the European Tour.
“Those reports are inaccurate. However, as I have stated publicly on several occasions, the integration of professional golf can create additional value for our players, sponsors and fans. Such integration has been ongoing since 1994, with the founding of the International Federation of PGA Tours, and has led to the establishment of the World Golf Championships in 1999 as well as the World Cup as a Federation-sanctioned event.”
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