Eddie is no great fan of the Rolex Series imbalance
The Rolex Series resumes next week on the European Tour with the Italian Open now one of the tournaments with a bumper $7m prize fund.
Just like at the French, Irish and Scottish Opens during the summer – and the BMW PGA Championship before that – one good week could make a huge difference to a player’s season.
The contrast in prize money between the Rolex Series and ordinary Tour events is staggering, so the same level of performance is not being recognised.
It is also creating a false picture on the Race to Dubai about the quality of golf that has been played over the season.
Eddie Pepperell seems to think so. He had to go back to Q-School 12 months ago after a bad season, but kept his card.
However, his lowly category has meant his chances in the Rolex Series events have been limited.
Outside of those, the English golfer has played well, with three top-five finishes in his last four tournaments.
Despite that, he still sits only just inside the top 60 on the Race to Dubai, and he wonders whether the imbalance in prize money is distorting the season.
“I earned nearly twice as much for coming 23rd in Paris as I did for coming fifth at the Czech Open,” he says.
“Personally, I don’t think the Order of Merit is an accurate reflection of the level of golf that somebody has played over the course of a year. But it is what it is.
“The Rolex Series events have such large purses that, if you do well in one of those, it certainly makes your mortgage repayments a bit easier!”
Pepperell’s season turned a corner when he secured a place at the US Open in June and grabbed a creditable tie for 16th at Erin Hills.
That was just his 10th start of the year, and it’s the unpredictable schedule that he finds difficult to accept.
“That was the most frustrating thing,” he rues. “You simply don’t get the same playing opportunities.
“Fortunately, I had a couple of good results, like the US Open, which got me into the French Open. Without that, my summer would have been very bare.
“I didn’t even get into some of the events in South Africa earlier in the year. That is beyond me. But you have to make the most of a bad situation. I’ve done that this year which is something I’m proud of, but it’s hard for the Q-School guys.
“I’m certainly happy that I’m not going back there this year.”
Eddie Pepperell at the Old Course for the Dunhill Links.