The European Tour was conspicuously absent from last week’s joint statement from the heads of golf on its 2020 season outlook, the Old World circuit only saying it was working through scenarios regarding the scheduling of tournaments and would have an update “in due course”. According to a report from the Telegraph, that update will include significant changes to the European Tour’s existence.
The Telegraph published a memo from tour chief executive Keith Pelley to players on Tuesday, in which Pelley outlined what players should expect when their sport returns.
“Our tour has enjoyed a significant period of growth in recent years, in terms of prize funds, playing opportunities, and the overall standard of our events, as well as our broadcast product,” Pelley said. “The impact of coronavirus has stopped this rapid momentum in its tracks and it will, in fact, require us to reassess many elements.”
Some of those alterations could include the elimination of “top class players’ lounges or courtesy car services”, but the biggest involves the cutting of tournament earnings.
“Prize funds will also most likely be different,” Pelley said. “The reality is, the pandemic is going to have a profound impact on the tour financially, as well as many of our partners, both in the sponsorship and broadcast areas.”
Pelley also speculated the European Tour may not return until the northern autumn, and when it does, multiple tournaments could be played at one site.
“Let us say we are given the go-ahead by governments and health authorities to resume play in the first week of September,” Pelley said. “That gives us 16 weeks between then and Christmas to try and play as many tournaments as possible.
“We are looking at options such as a) multiple tournaments in the same location; b) two tournaments in the same week or three in a fortnight; or c) three or four tournaments back-to-back in the UK with a 14-day ‘quarantine’ period ahead of that to allow players not from the UK to come over and self-isolate in advance, if that health requirement is still in place then.”
Pelley finished by noting the Rolex Series and events based in the United Kingdom are the priority for the tour and its broadcaster, Sky Sports, saying the tour will “play behind closed doors if necessary”.