European Tour unveil big changes for 2016

Players will only need to compete in five events to retain their Tour card

Players will only need to compete in five events next year to hold on to their card, excluding Majors and WGCs.

European Tour unveil big changes for 2016

Members of the European Tour will need to compete in just five events next year to hold on to their card following a series of changes confirmed this morning.

Players had been required to compete in 13 tournaments in order to compete on tour, however that number has dropped dramatically and will exclude majors and World Golf Championships.

Speaking about the overhaul of the current membership system, Keith Pelley, European Tour Chief Executive, said: "The change to our minimum tournament requirement for the 2016 season recognises that many of our members are global players who, at the same time, wish to remain loyal to The European Tour.

"When you are within the top 50 in the world rankings and eligible for the Major Championships and the World Golf Championships, that is attainable. But for those on the cusp, it is harder to plan.

"This change will benefit them and enable them to continue to remain in membership with us in what are extremely exciting times for The European Tour."

Rory McIlroy was granted exemption to this year's Final Series after injury meant he could only compete in 12 events.

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One of the other major change to the current European Tour format will see the season-ending Final Series reduced from four tournaments to three.

The Nedbank Golf Challenge will become part of the Final Series, with the WGC-HSBC Champions dropping out and joining the WGC-Cadillac Match Play and WGC-Dell Match Play as regular events.

New additions to the schedule, which will consist of 45 tournaments in 26 different countries, include the Australian PGA Championship and Maybank Championship Malaysia.

On the topic of the revamped Final Series format, Pelley said: "Europe continues to underpin The Race to Dubai, with 20 tournaments in total on European soil, but undoubtedly the strength of our relationships with the Asian Tour, Sunshine Tour and the PGA Tour of Australasia are also key components in creating a Race to Dubai with a truly global footprint."

"While the Olympic Games in August provided certain challenges in terms of overall scheduling, we nevertheless look forward to golf’s return to the Games in Rio in August as yet another reason to view the new season with excitement," he added.

The Final Series concludes this week at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.

Will Medlock graduated from UEA with a degree in Film and Television before completing a Masters in Sports Journalism at St Mary's in London. Will has had work published by The Independent and the Rugby Paper.