Strategic Alliance Criticised As World No.34 Pieters Misses Out On Riviera

The Belgian has expressed his dismay about missing out on this week's PGA Tour event, despite his creditable world ranking

Thomas Pieters takes a shot during the 2022 Dubai Desert Classic
Thomas Pieters is unhappy about missing out on the Genesis Invitational
(Image credit: Getty Images)

DP World Tour player Thomas Pieters has expressed his disappointment at missing out on this year’s Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club, despite currently sitting at World No.34.

The Belgian took to Twitter to air his views, writing: “Sad to miss my favourite tournament of the year. Because well as #34 in world, I just couldn’t get in at @PGATour #Genesis Invitational.” 

There are various categories to determine who is eligible for this week's tournament, including former winners of the tournament, recent winners of the Players Championship and the four Majors and those in the top 125 of the previous season’s FedEx Cup. 

For Pieters, though, none of the categories apply, meaning he misses out despite enjoying a relatively high world ranking. On the surface, the situation looks even more strange because, had he been eligible, he would have been the 30th ranked player in this week’s field of 129.

The news adds to the perception that the strategic alliance between the DP World Tour - where Pieters plays - and the PGA Tour is skewed too heavily in favour of the latter. Responses to Pieters’ tweet from some high-profile figures in the game alluded to that perceived injustice, too.

Popular golf Twitter account Flushing It wrote: "I'm sure it's very 'strategic'", while another, Monday Q Info responded: "A lot of players from Europe have said the “strategic alliance” is one sided. Pga tour players get into the Euro Tours best events, but the top Euro players can’t get into top events here."

Meanwhile, pro Wade Ormsby wrote: 'That's madness mate!' while podcaster Shane Bacon said it undermines the elevated status of the tournament, commenting: "This isn’t great - if we are going to make the elevated events ELEVATED, let’s include those that have played well enough to be top-35 in the world (and, btw, Pieters won the NCAAs at Riv back in 2012)."

The strategic alliance has come in for criticism elsewhere in recent weeks, with LIV Golf player Lee Westwood aiming a thinly veiled dig at it before last month's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship on the DP World Tour, saying: "It’s a $9 million tournament and there is only one member of the world’s top 20. I’m not being disrespectful to 15th place on the Challenge Tour but they have got in this week and this is a short field because of the daylight with only 120-odd players. I’ve never known it go so far down the list. And we all know why."

That prompted a response from DP World Tour CEO Keith Pelley, who said of the Tour: "You all know it has never been healthier or stronger. I can’t say that any more times." Westwood's comments followed similar views made by Scott Hend last September, where he told Golf Monthly the strategic alliance had made the DP World Tour "even weaker" and said it had become a feeder to the PGA Tour. 

While Pieters didn't reference the strategic alliance in his tweet, the criticism only adds to the suggestion that DP World Tour players are getting the raw end of the deal.

Mike Hall
News Writer

Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories. 

He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game. 

Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course. 

Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.