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Wednesday, August 4, 2021

My Wish List for the "Strategic Alliance" (Video)

The plans for the first year of the PGA Tour/European Tour "Strategic Alliance" have been announced and they sound pretty cool. Here's the Golf Today interview with Jay Monahan and Keith Pelley from Tuesday.

I'll give you some links to articles on, and later in this post but first I want to talk a bit about what I'd like to see moving forward. The details of the 2021-22 schedule changes I'll mention below can be found in those articles.

The big changes we'll see in the next year are that (temporarily) there will be only two WGCs this coming season, we'll have three events (one ET, two PGAT) that will offer both Race to Dubai and FedExCup points, FedEx will now host the first of the three FedExCup Playoff events and -- this one is specifically for the ET -- the Irish Open's purse will double from $3mil to $6mil.

These are great things on which to build the future of both tours. This will certainly give both tours a certain amount of immunity against rival golf tours luring the top players away, as well as providing a lot more opportunities for all the players and better fields for all the fans to watch. But these things are only the beginning, according to the big wigs on both tours.

Here's what I'd like to see going forward.

While I understand that making every event on both tours provide points for the money races on both tours is probably counterproductive, I do think this 'dual points' offer could give both tours some real benefits if used for strategic reasons.

For example, both tours call themselves 'world tours.' But think about this: The ET could certainly benefit from an 'American Swing' and the PGA Tour from a 'European Swing,' which I envision as three-event swings giving each of those events dual points. This would be an excellent spot for Monahan to set up new events for New York and the surrounding area, which he specifically mentioned as a goal. And this overlap would provide superstrong fields in events based in the home regions for each tour. A win-win situation.

Dual points might also give some of the smaller events an extra draw for those big name players who cross tour lines for the bigger events. That certainly seems to be the reason for making the Scottish Open (the week before THE OPEN) a dual-points event, as well as giving the ET players who don't make those big events a reason to come to America and play the Barracuda and Barbasol events (the opposite field events to the Scottish Open and THE OPEN which will also be dual-point events).

The temporary change from four to two WGCs also offers some real possibilities. One complaint about the WGCs is that most of them were played in America, and my personal complaint is that with the exception of the Dell Match Play, they're all just stroke play events. With only two in the new schedule -- the Dell Match Play in America and the HSBC (a stroke play event) in China -- we now have the freedom to set up WGCs in different parts of the world and with different styles of play. I would love to see the Irish Open made into a WGC featuring links play. A WGC in Australia that focused on sandbelt courses, which provide their own unique challenges, would be another possibility. And while the Mexico Championship will no longer be a WGC, I like the idea of a high-altitude WGC. Let's mix it up!

And returning to the dual point idea, you could effectively create the World Tour series that has been batted around for a couple of decades or so by setting up all the events that are opposite these big events -- regardless of which tour has them -- as dual point events. That way the big names get the big events they want while giving the players who don't qualify for them an opportunity to play at an alternate event that will help them improve their position on their regular tour. If you do that, I don't think rival tours have much to offer.

If you want to read more of the details about the 2021-22 'prototype' season, you can check out these links:

That's my wish list, at least given what little we know so far. Mike Whan used to say that a rising tide lifts all boats, and I think the PGA Tour and the ET have an opportunity here to prove just how powerful that idea is.

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