'Whether It Is In Six Months... Or 10 Years' - Outgoing DP World Tour CEO Believes Golf's Unification Is 'Inevitable'

DP World Tour CEO Keith Pelley delayed his departure in order to see a unifying deal through - yet, his latest comments suggest April's deadline will almost certainly be missed

DP World Tour CEO Keith Pelley at the opening ceremony of the Bahrain Championship
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Outgoing DP World Tour CEO Keith Pelley says he is "convinced the game will be unified" one day, but appeared to suggest he is no longer confident that moment will arrive before he departs the Wentworth-based circuit this Spring.

Pelley announced his exit from the DP World Tour in early January before revealing that he had asked to delay his moving date until shortly before The Masters takes place in April as he "truly believes" that a merger deal between all three main tours in men's professional golf will be completed before then.

But with the most famous tournament in golf on the horizon, it looks as though there is no end in sight to the sport's 'civil war'. Only a seismic investment deal involving the PGA Tour, which may later involve the PIF, has threatened to move the needle in that regard.

Speaking exclusively to The Times ahead of his return to Canada in order to take his "dream job" in heading up Toronto's four main sports franchises, Pelley stated that he is “convinced the game will be unified” but appeared to broaden his previously specified target.

Pelley said: “Whether it be in six months, a year, two years or ten years, I think people are coming to the realisation that a collective product is in the best interest of global golf. It is the only way growth and prize funds continue at this level. It is inevitable.”

In the same interview, the 60-year-old stated he is in agreement with Rory McIlroy over the prospect of something like a "World Tour" being the best way forward for the men's game.

Keith Pelley and Jay Monahan during the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth

Keith Pelley and Jay Monahan (right)

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Pelley has allegedly been frustrated with some US-based golfers preferring not to travel any more than they already do, thus making a more global game tougher to launch.

“They’re entitled to their opinion but I’m very much aligned with Rory,” says Pelley, who labelled McIlroy “a special athlete and human being whose honesty is his greatest attribute”.

“Rory is the player I have leant on the most, going back to the beginning of [golf’s civil war]. You need people who aren’t afraid to say what they really think.”

However, regarding much else relating to the future, Pelley was reportedly reluctant to be drawn in and refused to back up McIlroy's call for Ryder Cup rules to be altered in order for players like Jon Rahm to fuel Team Europe's cause.

“Of course you want Jon Rahm to play in the Ryder Cup but qualification doesn’t start until September, so it’s a hypothetical,” said Pelley.

Jon Rahm, Keith Pelley and Rory McIlroy stand alongside trophies on the 18th green at Jumeriah Golf Estates after DP World Tour Championship.

Jon Rahm (left), Keith Pelley, and Rory McIlroy (right)

(Image credit: Getty Images)

But what about the biggest annual tournaments? The events which put golf on a platform that allows the sport to show what it can really offer. Some of them stand not to include a handful of LIV's brightest, Joaquin Niemann - for example - who is only in The Masters after receiving a special invite.

When posed questions on the current state of the Majors - arguably the factor in golf's self-sabotage which stands to hurt fans the most - the DP World Tour's current boss simply reiterated his earlier belief that golf will come together again in the not-too-distant future.

Pelley said: “The majors will always be the majors. One or two players not being there will not affect their legacy whatsoever. And as I say, I’m convinced the game will be unified, so these questions will go away.”

Jonny Leighfield
Staff Writer

Jonny Leighfield is our Staff News Writer who joined Golf Monthly just in time for the 2023 Solheim Cup and Ryder Cup. He graduated from the University of Brighton with a degree in Sport Journalism in 2017 and spent almost five years as the sole sports reporter at his local newspaper. During his time with Golf Monthly, Jonny has interviewed several stars of the game, including Robert MacIntyre, Ian Poulter, and Lee Westwood. An improving golfer himself, Jonny enjoys learning as much about the game as he can and is hoping to reach his Handicap goal of 18 at some stage. He attended both the 150th and 151st Open Championships and dreams of attending The Masters one day.