Europe losing out to PGA Tour
The European Tour has no problem producing star players. Keeping them is the challenge. Seven players from Europe's Ryder Cup team are PGA Tour members. Five have made the United States their main residence, and the list is only growing.
Martin Kaymer, a former world No. 1 and past PGA Championship winner, announced this week that he's joining the PGA Tour. Lee Westwood is moving from England to Florida. And bighitting Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium told The Associated Press that he will cut his European Tour events to the minimum 13 next year so he can play a full schedule in America. ''It's a stronger tour and you have the best players in America,'' Colsaerts said Wednesday. ''This is perfect timing for me. I've had a pretty good year over here and it's maybe time to have a taste of somewhere else, see if I like it and see if it it's the tour I will be playing for the next couple of years.''
Luke Donald, Ian Poulter, Justin Rose, Graeme McDowell and Peter Hanson already were based in Florida, with Donald splitting time between Florida and Chicago. Hanson finally earned enough money this year to take up PGA Tour membership, though he had been living at Lake Nona in Orlando, Fla.
European Tour chief executive George O'Grady said the departure of so many stars was a testament to the quality of players in Europe and the increasing openness of the U.S. tour to take them.