'Even Weaker' - DP World Tour Pro Blasts Strategic Alliance
Three-time DP World Tour winner Scott Hend says the alliance seems like it is making the Old World circuit "even weaker"
The PGA Tour only joined into a strategic alliance with the DP World Tour to block LIV Golf, Australian pro Scott Hend says.
The strategic alliance was formalised and strengthened in June and will see 10 DP World Tour players earn PGA Tour cards each year, the guarantee of increased prize pools in Europe and formal routes from Australia and South Africa to the DP World Tour. The alliance also saw three co-sanctioned events between the two tours, including the Genesis Scottish Open, and the PGA Tour taking a larger stake in European Tour productions. PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan also joined the board at Wentworth.
The alliance has been somewhat controversial so far, with some believing that the PGA Tour is getting the better side of the deal. One of those players is three-time DP World Tour winner and 10-time Asian Tour winner Scott Hend, who described the alliance as "bull****."
"Bull****. It’s bull****. All they’ve said is hot air, we’ve had hot air fed to us about these events that we found out stuff after them," Hend told Golf Monthly. "My personal opinion on it, it’s bull****. Until I’m given information that proves different to that, that’ll be my thoughts on the matter.
"I didn’t agree with these two events that they played in Kentucky and Reno [co-sanctioned Barbasol and Barracuda Championships] what the finer details of what happened. I’m not a big fan of them trying to say that this is not a feeder tour if 10 of the top guys from the money list are going to be elevated onto the PGA Tour because apparently in any sport, if you play one division and it elevates you to the next, that’s technically called a feeder tour, a feeder club, whatever you want to call it."
In a press conference at Wentworth this week, DP World Tour chief Keith Pelley categorically denied the tour being called a feeder and the notion of it becoming the fifth-best tour in the world.
"I'll ask you: Is this week a tournament that is on a feeder tour?" Pelley said. "A tournament that has sold-out crowds, television coverage around the world in 150 countries, five of the Top 15 players in the world? A tournament with 150 accredited media? Our first co-sanctioned event with the PGA Tour in Scotland, where 14 of the top 15 players (in the world) played, would that appear on a feeder tour? I could go on and on."
Hend, however, currently thinks that the alliance is set to make the DP World Tour "even weaker" amid tough competition against the likes of LIV Golf and the LIV-backed Asian Tour.
"This [the strategic alliance] is going to seem like it’s gonna make this tour even weaker and I don’t know how we convince potential sponsors to buy into that," the Aussie said. "That’s my opinion, and obviously like I said unless I get told much better information, that’s exactly what I’m gonna think. I’ve asked for information and I haven’t been given it.
"The PGA Tour is there for one reason and they’ve been there for one reason from the start, they’re there for themselves. If we’ve got such a strategic alliance, if this tour is so important to the PGA Tour which we were a couple of months ago to try and block LIV, that’s the only reason they came in, let’s not beat around the bush here, the only reason they came to the European Tour to try and get us to try and stop and block an avenue for LIV to get into where they are and compete with them.
"If we’re so important to them, why have they come out and said they’re going to give each one of their players $500,000 if you’re a member, they’re going to increase these purses to $20m. What’s the European Tour gonna do? ‘Oh sorry we’re still playing for purses under $2m’. It doesn’t make any sense to me."
The real signs of the strategic alliance coming into effect could come in 2024, after Rory McIlroy hinted that might be when the PGA and DP World Tours' schedules will look very different.
"I think what's going to happen is 2023 is going to look pretty similar to how the last few years have looked but 2023 is going to be a bridge to 2024; '24 is when there's going to be a lot of stuff happening schedule-wise," McIlroy said.
"I think that's  when you're going to start to see the benefits of this partnership," he said, describing the strategic alliance as a "massive help" to the DP World Tour. "There's a lot of moving parts to this. I think by giving everyone 15 months to get their head around it and put their heads together and come up with what I think is going to be an unbelievable calendar for golf in 2024, I think that's a great thing."
Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news, features, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-5. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!
Elliott is currently playing:
Driver: Titleist TSR4
3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max
Hybrid: TaylorMade SIM Max
Irons: Mizuno MP5 4-PW
Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58
Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5
Ball: TaylorMade TP5x
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