European Tour and PGA Tour Alliance Should Be Celebrated
Golfshake's Derek Clements shares his latest View From The Fairway, looking at Rory McIlroy, Emily Pedersen, and the new "alliance" between the European Tour and PGA Tour.
IT SEEMS that everybody has an opinion about what is wrong with Rory McIlroy. The latest to express his views on the subject is Tom Weiskopf - a man who has never met or spoken with the Northern Irishman. And it is hardly surprising that McIlroy is feeling little miffed with Weiskopf, a man who managed a solitary major victory during his career. Weiskopf said in an interview with GolfWeek that he believes “golf is something for Rory to do.” He added. “I don’t think he will much more than four majors he’s got or maybe five because I don’t see that determination and will to be the best.” McIlroy has not won a major since 2014 but he has achieved plenty of other things in that time, enough to take him back to the top of the world rankings earlier this year. But he failed to win in 2020, ending his campaign by finishing fifth at The Masters. McIlroy responded in the same publication: “I have never met Tom Weiskopf in my life so he is obviously making a statement based on. What he sees from the outside. But I don’t think that is a fair assessment. I have shown throughout my career that I care, that I want to be the best. And I have been the best. It’s not as if I am out there in the clouds not thinking about it. I try my heart out on every single shot, and in every single tournament that I play.” That’s told you, Tom! To be fair to McIlroy, it is quite clear that he has hated the way he has played in 2020 but he has always been a streaky player. He is only 31 years of age and it would be a foolish man who would bet against him reclaiming his place at the top of the world rankings.
SHOULD we be excited by the news that the PGA Tour is joining with the European Tour? They will collaborate on commercial opportunities and international media rights. The deal will also affect scheduling, prize funds and playing opportunities for members of both tours. PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan will serve on the board of the European Tour and it seems sure to pave the way for the launch of a world tour. "This partnership is an historic moment for golf," said European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley. "It is a fantastic opportunity for both the European Tour and the PGA Tour to explore ways to come together at the very pinnacle of our sport and work in unison for the benefit of the men's professional game.” Monahan said: "We are thrilled to announce this further strengthening of our partnership with the European Tour, and we look forward to working together for the benefit of the men's professional game and for golf fans around the world.” The PGA Tour is a far bigger and better resourced entity and attracts the largest prize funds and best known players. But the European Tour has a rich history and a global footprint that stretches way beyond its continental boundaries. The Rolex Series of big money tournaments are significant European Tour assets. Whether this eventually leads to a full takeover by the PGA Tour is a moot point. Such a move would need 75% support from the players who are members of the European Tour. It has also been revealed that the European Tour have been in talks with the private equity backers of the rebel Premier Golf League. It is surely to be hoped that the European Tour does not lose its identity. It’s not the first time there has been talk of a world tour - it was Greg Norman’s brainchild more than 20 years ago but it never got off the ground because there simply wasn’t enough support for it. However, the impact of the pandemic means that sponsorship is likely to be hit hard in the months and years ahead so there is every likelihood that we will see more tournaments jointly run by both tours. And if that ensures tournament golf survives then it is surely something to be celebrated.
WHAT a spell it has been for Danish golfer Emily Pedersen, who picks up her third victory in a row at the LET’s season-ending Spanish Open. It was her fourth individual victory of the year and helped her romp to the Race to Costa del Sol title with more than three times the number of points of her nearest challenger. But it came after an alarming slump in form following her Solheim Cup debut in 2017. Pedersen was picked by skipper Annika Sorenstam for the match in Illinois but was comprehensively beaten in all three of her matches in Europe's 16 1/2 - 11 1/2 defeat. "I really felt for her after the Solheim in Des Moines," said Catriona Matthew, the 2009 Women's Open champion. "She was at the top of her game and she just kind of completely lost it after that Solheim. It just shows great character to come back. I've seen her over the past couple of years working really hard at her game, but golf is a lot in the head and I think it's taken a lot of mental strength.” Pedersen was 509th in the world at the start of 2020 but now heads to the Women’s US Open ranked 77th in the standings. The first signs of recovery came in March with a top-10 place at the South African Open before the coronavirus pandemic halted proceedings. At the Scottish Open, Pedersen was runner-up to American Stacy Lewis before posting her best major finish with an 11th place at the Women's Open at Royal Troon. She then won the Czech Ladies Open, where a closing eagle rounded off a four-stroke victory, before finishing third in Switzerland. And since then she has been unstoppable. An incredible couple of November weeks in Saudi Arabia saw her emerge with two individual titles and victory in the team event. And she then went on to win in Spain by four shots. We can never really know what impact that Solheim Cup hammering had on her but it says a great deal about her mental strength that she has stormed back in such sensational fashion.
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