PGA Tour bought 20 per cent stake in European Tour's in-house TV company

Danny Willett, the 2016 Masters champion, has hailed the European Tour’s new “strategic alliance” with the PGA Tour as a “good thing for golf globally”.

Danny Willett  in action during a practice round prior to the Golf in Dubai Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates. Picture: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images
Danny Willett in action during a practice round prior to the Golf in Dubai Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates. Picture: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

The Englishman gave his reaction to the US-based circuit buying a stake in European Tour Productions, the tour’s in-house TV company, in a virtual press conference ahead of this week’s Golf in Dubai Championship presented by DP World.

Inadvertently, he let it slip that PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan had secured a seat on the European Tour board through acquiring a “20 per cent minority stake”.

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Willett also hinted that there will be a “hell of a lot of opportunities” for European Tour players in 2021 through a schedule that is set to feature “46 or 48 tournaments” when it is unveiled in the next week or so.

“I think it can only be a positive thing,” he said of the link up between the European Tour and PGA Tour, which was announced on Friday.

“You’ve got the two biggest tours in the world coming together to hopefully create more of a global game for the European players probably more so than the Americans.

“Hopefully within this alliance it might see a few more tour events in a few more places around the world or even in America that are going to give European guys some spots to go and play.

“We don’t know all the details, how that will work, but a 20 per cent minority share, to have Jay Monahan on the board can only be a good thing, he’s done a fantastic job on the PGA Tour as commissioner over the last few years.

“With himself, Keith Pelley and the other guys on the board in Europe, it can only be a good thing for European golf and for golf globally, to be honest.

“I’m hoping it opens up the door and gives the guys a few more opportunities to play a bit more of a worldwide schedule and for maybe a few more of the European Tour guys who don’t play much in America.

“To give them chances to play there and play against the best fields in the world on a more regular basis. Dip your feet in the water over there and see how some guys can take it.”

Willett, who has won twice in Dubai in the past and is looking forward to a new test this week on the Fire Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates, is confident the rank-and-file European Tour members will not necessarily suffer through co-sanctioned events being established.

“Those events might not go as far down the list as some players want it to, but that’s been the story forever on the tour, really,” he added. “The stronger events get the better fields, but then the other guys get to make up their schedule with different tournaments.

“The Americans have obviously done a great job in the last number of years with having events on at the same time as World Golf Championships, giving guys options to play.

“Next year (on the European Tour), I think there’s 46 or 48 tournaments going ahead so there are a hell of a lot of opportunities there to play golf and to sort your ranking and eventually be given the opportunity to play in the bigger events.”

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