European Tour

European Tour CEO eases fears of PGA Tour takeover

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European Tour CEO Keith Pelley
European Tour CEO Keith Pelley

Chief executive Keith Pelley insists the European Tour's "robust financial health" means that a takeover by the PGA Tour is not "inevitable".

The European Tour and PGA Tour have signed a "strategic alliance" which will see them work together on scheduling and playing opportunities for members.

The PGA Tour will acquire a minority investment stake in European Tour Productions, which produces and distributes the Tour's content, and its commissioner Jay Monahan will also take a seat on the board of the European Tour.

"It definitely heralds a significant new era for global golf," Pelley said. "The way I've characterised it is that the PGA Tour moves from a competitor to a partner.

"Emphatically, this is not a merger. A merger would only happen for two reasons; one is if the Tour had financial difficulties and two that there were significant benefits for the members.

"I read one tweet that said a takeover is inevitable because of the situation that we are in. I find that staggering, somewhat tiring and a great example of a story that perpetuates itself with no facts.

"We are categorically not in financial difficulties, that is simply wrong. We are in robust financial health, with a strongest ever balance sheet and a strong supportive network of partners.

"We have played 23 events since July, creating 15 from scratch, and at the same time funding a healthy strategy and Covid testing (costing) another £3 million.

"If this was a merger or a pathway to a merger, it would have to have significant benefits for our members (players), because for in order for a merger to ever happen it would need 75 percent of the membership vote and consensus.

"This is day one of a partnership."

Negotiations had been taking place for months but were complicated by an alternative offer from the Raine Group, a private equity firm behind the proposed Premier Golf League (PGL).

Under the PGL's proposals outlined in January, 48 players would compete in an 18-event season offering a total prize fund of £183million, but Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka - at the time the top three ranked players in the world - all ruled themselves out.

"Ultimately we felt partnering with the PGA Tour was the best option for our members and for global golf, a decision that was made unanimously by the board of directors."

Pelley also admitted that there is the "realistic possibility" of having co-sanctioned events with the PGA Tour on European soil in the future, but was unable to provide further details.

- TEAMtalk media

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