European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley laid out ambitious plans with hopes of becoming a “viable alternative” to the PGA Tour.
That starts with an increase in prize money, and he went so far as to say that it would make more sense for the European Tour’s flagship event to be the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai ($8 million purse) instead of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth ($5 million purse) because of the money.
Another measure of the mountain he has to climb is the world ranking.
The gap continues to widen in the average ranking points for PGA Tour events compared with Europe – up an average of one point this year, two points from 2012.
Including the four majors and the four World Golf Championships, the PGA Tour averaged 56.4 points for the winner compared with 42.2 points for the European Tour. That’s a difference of 14.2 points, up from 13.3 points a year ago.
Throw out the majors (each worth 100 points) and the WGCs, and the PGA Tour offered an average of 49.5 points compared with 32.9 points for the European Tour.
The European Tour had six regular events that offered 50 points or more, including the BMW PGA Championship, which is guaranteed 64 points as the flagship event. The PGA Tour had seven events that offered 60 points or more, including The Players Championship, which is guaranteed 80 points (The Players actually has a stronger field by raw numbers than three of the majors).
The four events in The Finals Series for the Race to Dubai offered an average of 53 points to the winner. The four FedEx Cup playoff events on the PGA Tour awarded an average of 68.5 points to the winner.
Pelley is aware he needs time to become a viable option, and his target is the next generation of players.
“That’s not going to happen necessarily in 2016,” Pelley said last month in Dubai. “You’ll start to see it happen in 2017. You’ll start to see it come to fruition in 2018. We definitely in three to five years will have a viable alternative, so that 17-, 18-, 19-year-old doesn’t necessarily need to go to America to be able to make as much money as they possibly can.”