Bernard Gallacher, the Ryder Cup legend, questions the PGA-DP World Tour alliance

Bernard Gallacher, the Ryder Cup legend, questions the PGA-DP World Tour alliance

Twenty-eight years ago, Bernard Gallacher worried about how his European Ryder Cup team would defend its title at Oak Hill Country Club.

This week, as Oak Hill hosts the PGA Championship for the fourth time, he continues to worry about European golf.

This time, Gallacher’s concerns are much wider than just a 12-man squad. He now worries about the future of the DP World Tour, noting that it could become an “upmarket Korn Ferry Tour.”

The Korn Ferry Tour is a de-facto minor league to the PGA Tour. Players work their way through the Korn Ferry Tour, and if they finish in the top 30 in the season-long standings, they earn PGA Tour cards for the following season.

Gallacher worries that the DP World Tour will suffer the same fate.

To some extent, it already has.

Two of the best players in the world, Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy, play primarily on the PGA Tour.

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Jon Rahm of Spain celebrates making a birdie putt on the 18th green during the final round of the 2021 US Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course (South Course) on June 20, 2021 in San Diego, California.
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Numerous other European stars, such as Tommy Fleetwood, Matt Fitzpatrick and Shane Lowry, also call the PGA Tour home.

Although it still hails as the dominant European tour, the DP World Tour, aptly named after the Dubai-based logistics company DP World for sponsorship reasons, has lost much of its top talent to the American tour over the years.

More economic opportunities exist by land, but that does not mean that the European Tour cannot flourish.

Nevertheless, in 2020 the PGA Tour and European Tour announced a strategic alliance. Still, Gallacher feels the move was a bit hasty.

“When I was on the board of the European Tour, we always wanted to maintain our independence and be able to make our own decisions,” he told the Telegraph. “But we tried to find pathways to the PGA Tour for our best players.”

“There were World Golf Championship events that our top guys could get into, and if they played well enough in those and the Majors, they could win enough money to qualify for the PGA Tour. But only the top end of our players could do it. But with ten sure to get their PGA Tour cards now, my fear is that we’re going to be kind of an exclusive Korn Ferry Tour.”

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