BAT­TLE OF THE TOURS

The re­spec­tive heads of the PGA Tour and Euro­pean Tour will square up on sev­eral key is­sues in 2017 and be­yond

Golf Asia (Malaysia) - - SCENE -

JAY MON­A­HAN V KEITH PEL­LEY The Big Asian Land Grab

One thing that unites Pel­ley and Mon­a­han is the need to grow the game be­yond their tra­di­tional Tour bor­ders. Lurk­ing beneath this is­sue is the slow burn prom­ise of a Global Tour, which some say ex­ists al­ready in all but name. Mon­a­han has a new PGA Tour event in Korea and a new of­fice in Tokyo. China is the prize both Tours have their eyes on.

A larger pres­ence in Asia is a ‘nice to have’ for the PGA Tour, but it’s an ‘essential’ for Pel­ley, who for­malised the re­la­tion­ship with the Asian Tour. This gives the Euro­pean Tour a strong foothold in the re­gion, but the bound­aries will soon get blurred.

The Sea­son-end­ing Play-off Sched­ule

Mon­a­han’s big headache right now is the FedEx Cup Se­ries, which is less pop­u­lar with Amer­i­can tele­vi­sion than it could be, due to its sched­ul­ing con­flict with the start of the NFL sea­son. If Mon­a­han can some­how per­suade the PGA of Amer­ica to move the US PGA Cham­pi­onship ear­lier in the year, we may very well see the PGA Tour’s end of sea­son money fest ar­rive sev­eral weeks ear­lier on the sched­ule.

What­ever hap­pens with the FedEx Cup will no doubt have im­pli­ca­tions on Pel­ley’s own brain­child, the Rolex Se­ries, which in­cludes the events that fell un­der the Race to Dubai fi­nale. The Ry­der Cup is the other key con­sid­er­a­tion, which is cen­tral to the Euro­pean Tour’s fi­nances but far less im­por­tant to the

PGA Tour.

The Ac­qui­si­tion and Re­ten­tion of Tal­ent

Money doesn’t just talk in golf, it sings and shouts from the rooftops. Mon­a­han has all the cards right now. With the prize­money in the US so much higher than in Europe, Rory, Justin and the rest of the home grown tal­ent spend their sum­mers in Amer­ica.

Get­ting the best play­ers play­ing in Europe more of­ten is Pel­ley’s most press­ing goal, which has led to the cre­ation of the Rolex Se­ries, which bumps the prize­money but could di­vide the Tour into haves and have nots. It’s both bold and in­no­va­tive. Only time will tell if the play­ers be­low the top 25 like it or not.

Pel­ley and Mon­a­han are closer in terms of age, ex­pe­ri­ence and world view than Ge­orge O’Grady and Tim Finchem ever were. They share com­mon prob­lems – age­ing view­er­ship, de­clin­ing fan base, player power and chang­ing TV habits. They are for­ward look­ing and fo­cused on us­ing new me­dia tech­nol­ogy to drive the game to new au­di­ences. With these two at the helm, golf will look and feel dif­fer­ent in 2017.

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