European Golf Tour gets season-end overhaul
PARIS (AFP) –
The European Tour’s international schedule for 2013 will open in South Africa next month and take in 45 tournaments across the world culminating in a new-style “Final Series” of four big-money tournaments.
Total prize money of almost 23.5 million euros will be on offer at the BMW Masters and the WGC-HSBC Champions, both in Shanghai, followed by the newly-installed Turkish Open and ending with the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.
Players will only be eligible for Dubai if they compete in two of the first three of these tournaments and if they are at all three then their points on the ‘Race to Dubai’ money list will receive a 20 per cent bonus.
Tour chief executive George O’Grady said: “The introduction of ‘The Final Series’ and the associated changes to the structure are being made to bring even more drama and excitement to the conclusion of our season and to further enhance the ‘Race to Dubai’.
“We felt there had to be an additional level of commitment from the membership to these important tournaments, hence the new regulation.
“The response from our leading players to this change has been extremely encouraging and we take confidence from their support as we look to continue the positive evolution of the European Tour in an extremely challenging economic climate.”
This season’s money list race was settled two weeks prior to the final tournament when Rory McIlroy came third at the Singapore Open and the revised schedule makes that less likely, but still possible.
World number one McIlroy also caused controversy by staying away from the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai early November, opting to play a one-day match against Tiger Woods elsewhere in China before flying off to watch girlfriend Carolina Wozniacki play tennis in Bulgaria.
The 2013 tour season actually gets under way next month before the end of the year with two tournaments in South Africa.
The well-established Gulf swing then kicks in before several tournaments in Asia during the spring and the first event on European soil in May in Bulgaria, where the Volvo World Matchplay Championship has found a new home.
The financial problems across Europe are reflected in the fact that Spain has gone from seven tournaments last year to only one next season. That is the Spanish Open on April 18-21 at a venue yet to be announced.