With LIV Golf continuing to poach players for its startup league, the PGA Tour announced Tuesday that it was strengthening its strategic alliance with the DP World Tour, a move that will create a direct pathway to the Tour and increase purses across the pond.
It’s part of a 13-year operational partnership that was unveiled Tuesday afternoon, perhaps coincidentally while the opening press conferences at LIV’s first U.S.-based event were just underway at Pumpkin Ridge. A handful of former Tour headliners are debuting in the second LIV tournament, a group that includes household names like Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka, but also 2021 WGC winner Abraham Ancer and No. 2-ranked amateur Eugenio Chacarra.
As part of the revamped strategic alliance, which runs through 2035, the PGA Tour will increase its ownership stake in European Tour Productions from 15% to 40%, creating an influx of cash to drive prize funds while also generating playing opportunities for members of both circuits.
Prize money on the DP World Tour is now guaranteed to increase on an annual basis over the next few years. And beginning in 2023, the top 10 finishers not already exempt on the season-ending DP World Tour Rankings will receive Tour cards for the following season. Top performers on the Sunshine and Australasian tours will also now have a pathway to DP World Tour membership.
“We will continue to collaborate on a global schedule and key commercial areas as we draw our organizations and memberships even closer together while innovating to provide the most entertaining and compelling golf possible to fans around the world,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.
For the first time this year, the Genesis Scottish Open, scheduled for next week at the Renaissance Club, will be co-sanctioned by both tours, with DP World Tour members also gaining access to two opposite-field events on the PGA Tour, the Barracuda Championship and Barbasol Championship. Monahan has already indefinitely suspended any Tour member who competes in a LIV event; DP World Tour chief executive Keith Pelley followed suit for the Scottish Open, denying those players a final opportunity to prepare for The Open at St. Andrews.
Though no additional co-sanctioned events were announced, the release said that the two tours would “continue to coordinate a worldwide schedule.”
With the professional landscape shifting over the past few months, Pelley found himself at a crossroads with European stalwarts Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia and Ian Poulter among those signing with the Saudi-backed rival league. Facing the option of strengthening the alliance or perhaps negotiating with LIV, Pelley decided to double down on his partnership with Monahan.
“This move will significantly enhance the meritocratic ecosystem that has successful served the professional game on both sides of the Atlantic for more than 50 years,” Pelley said. “It is a natural extension and progression of what we have been doing over the past few years, and I passionately believe that this move is the right thing for our players, our tour, our fans and the game of golf in general. Our tours have undoubtedly drawn closer over the past few years, and today’s announcement strengthens both tours for the betterment of both memberships.”