Garcia: new blood will enhance quality of European Tour

SERGIO GARCIA has little sympathy for those upset by the arrival of top overseas golfers to the PGA European Tour next year.

Anthony Kim and Colombian Camilo Villegas have already announced that they will be heading across the Atlantic while Phil Mickelson is believed to be considering such a move.

Their interest has been raised by the new Race to Dubai, which begins next week with the HSBC Champions event in Shanghai, followed by the Barclays Singapore Open and running all the way up to the Dubai World Championship at the Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai in November 2009.

The prize fund for that event, which will be confined to the top 60 on the European Tour, is $10m (€7.75m) along with a bonus pool of another $10m (€7.75m) divided between the leading 15 players.

There will be $2m (€1.5m) for the winner, $1.5m (€1.1m) for second and $1m (€777,000) for third, down to $250,000 (€193,000) for 15th.

It is hardly surprising, then, that such largesse has caught the attention of the world’s top players. And with Kim and Villegas sure to be followed, it means some longstanding members of the European Tour will be out in the cold. Those vulnerable to foreign assault have been voicing their concerns but Garcia views things differently

“The more good players here, some guys are going to lose out,” he said. “But it happens everywhere and you can’t have both. If you want the Tour to get better and get to the level it deserves, you need those big players. If you’re taking four or five spots, there’s going to be four or five guys who are going to struggle but that’s life. You can’t please everybody”.

He added: “It’s good for golf and the European Tour. It’s nice to see those guys move around a little and not only play in the US. They asked me a couple of things and I told them everything seems to be a little more relaxed in Europe. It’s a little bit looser here, we get along and have dinner and all those kinds of things. We’ll welcome them with open arms and we hope they can enjoy it as much as we do.”


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