Saturday, May 9

MORNING READ: 'The European Tour Is in Deep Trouble'; Speculation About Merger With PGA Tour

Embed from Getty Images

THIS WEEK IN MORNING READ Mike Purkey wrote, "The European Tour is in deep trouble, and it appears that the PGA Tour will come riding to the rescue. But at a price."

The European Tour has canceled 16 events due to the coronavirus pandemic, including The Open Championship, its first cancellation since World War II. They still hope to play a 26-event schedule that begins (hopefully) on July 30.

The Europeans don't have PGA Tour-level resources. Survival is the goal.

Purkey quoted an April memo from European Tour CEO Keith Pelley:
"Our tour has enjoyed a significant period of growth in recent years, in terms of prize funds, playing opportunities and the overall standard of our events, as well as our broadcast product. The impact of the coronavirus has stopped this rapid momentum in its tracks, and it will, in fact, require us to reassess many elements. You should therefore be prepared that when we do resume playing, the schedule and the infrastructure of tournaments could look radically different from what you have been used to. 
"Prize funds will also most likely be different. … The reality is, the pandemic is going to have a profound impact on the tour financially, as well as many of our partners, both in sponsorship and broadcast areas."
The merger mill has been noisy.

Purkey added: "[A]ccording to reports, both men [Pelley and Jay Monahan] are talking daily about forging some sort of arrangement – perhaps a partnership or an outright merger – in which the European Tour would receive at the very least significant financial help to remain afloat and viable. At most, it is speculated that the Euro Tour would become a subsidiary of the PGA Tour."

Like so many industries, organizations and sports profoundly impacted by the pandemic, golf won't be the same on the other side. The strong will survive. The weak may die or be swallowed up by the strong.

No comments: