The Premier Golf League, which has been intent on challenging the status quo in international professional golf, may have gone quiet but it has not gone away.
According to sources, the PGL has expressed a strong interest in investing in or acquiring the European Tour, which has been dealing with severe financial challenges in recent months.
It’s unclear if a formal proposal has been made but sources who have been in contact with PGL officials in recent weeks have said the group turned its focus to Europe when it became apparent that most top PGA Tour players were not willing to join the new organization. However, it generally is understood that the European Tour prefers some form of alliance with the PGA Tour.
“There have been some rumblings about them wanting to do something in Europe,” a person familiar with the situation said.
Last week at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, Henrik Stenson – one player targeted by the Premier Golf League – tiptoed around the subject.
“I know a little bit what’s going on behind the scenes and I’m following it closely, like a lot of other people,” Stenson said. “Yeah, we’ll see what happens in the future, really.”
According to a recent report in The Guardian, the PGL recently made offers to several top players including Stenson, Adam Scott, Justin Rose, Paul Casey, Phil Mickelson, Rickie Fowler and Brooks Koepka.
Rory McIlroy dismissed the idea earlier this year, as did Koepka and current world No. 1 Jon Rahm.
The original PGL model would provide substantial financial guarantees to players, but also would require them to play a guaranteed number of events around the world, limiting their scheduling flexibility. The model likely would evolve if PGL’s financial backers were to invest in or acquire the European Tour.
PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan told players earlier this year that if the PGL concept were to come about, players would have to choose between the PGA Tour and the new organization.
When asked by Global Golf Post about reports of the PGL’s interest in the European Tour, a spokesman provided the following statement:
“For the past couple of years we have been proactively sought out by a number of private equity companies, all of whom recognise the strength and influence of the European Tour across golf’s global ecosystem. We have listened to them all but our primary focus remains ensuring that the remainder of our 2020 schedule, and onwards to 2021, is robust and healthy for our membership in these constantly changing times.”
Ron Green Jr.