'We Are Not A Feeder Tour' - Keith Pelley After PGA Tour Link Up

The DP World Tour CEO has defended the strengthened alliance between the two Tours

Keith Pelley at the 2021 BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth
(Image credit: Getty Images)

One of the most eye-catching outcomes of the news that the PGA and DP World Tours are strengthening their alliance was the revelation that the leading ten players on DP World Tour Rankings will earn PGA Tour cards for the following season as the effort to counter the threat posed by the LIV Golf Invitational Series gathers pace. 

However, this has led to suspicions that the DP World Tour is becoming a feeder Tour for the more powerful and prestigious PGA Tour. DP World Tour CEO Keith Pelley, per the Golf Channel, has denied that is the case. He said: “I can tell you emphatically, this is one component of our Tour. We are not a feeder tour into the PGA Tour. We are a vibrant, independent, strong tour with incredible tournaments. There is one component of our new deal, which is a massive component for our players to be able to get access to the PGA Tour, the world’s greatest and largest tour. But it’s one component of it.”   

There is some evidence to back-up Pelley's assertion, with several other key elements laid out in the strengthened alliance. One is the pledge to increase the DP World Tour's annual prize money over the next five years. Meanwhile, another promises to allow the DP World Tour to work closely on developing and implementing new international events announced by PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan at last week’s Travelers Championship.

Pelley is adamant that the joint venture, which runs until 2035, only makes the DP World Tour stronger while creating greater opportunities for its members. He said: “It’s a wonderful opportunity for our players. I just had a player who had just lost his PGA Tour card come and say to me: ‘This is the greatest thing ever.’ But I can tell you that we are not a feeder to the PGA Tour. This is one component to what we are. We are a dynamic, vibrant, independent tour. It makes global golf better and better for our respective organizations.”

Paul McGinley, who sits on the DP World Tour board, backed up Pelley's thoughts. He tweeted: "A lot of factors went into this decision with many dynamics at play, not just LIV, the need for a new linked eco system has been coming and is a natural evolution in todays golfing landscape. Lots of opinions that DPWT will be a feeder tour to PGAT - European players have always gravitated to America & come back to play our bigger events & this will continue. This deal formalises clear pathways as well as securing enhanced prize funds from this years record levels."

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Later, the 55-year-old refuted suggestions a merger was in the offing, tweeting: "A reminder that the ownership of the DPWT remains in the hands of its members - any decision on a full merger with PGAT can only happen if our members vote for it. At this stage this is a huge step but NOT a full merger as many seem to think."

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Whether Pelley's and McGinley's defence of the alliance is enough to convince everyone of the DP World Tour's standing remains to be seen, but regardless, both they and Monahan will hope it represents another move towards countering the biggest threat facing them both - the far more financially powerful Saudi-backed Series.

Mike Hall
Mike Hall

Mike has 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on sports such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the sport’s most newsworthy stories. Originally from East Yorkshire, Mike now resides in Canada, where the nearest course is less than a mile from his home. It’s there where he remains confident that, one of these days, he’ll play the 17th without finding the water. 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.