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Golf Australia Express : OTG Express 145
W HERE there is smoke there is fire. What started as a spark in the brush, surrounding speculation that the PGA Tour of Australasia is in merger discussions with the European Tour, is fast becoming a bushfire. Renowned British golf writer Derek Lawrenson, of The Daily Mail, broke the news in March of negotiations between the PGA of Australia and European Tour chiefs had “reached an advanced stage.” “It’s surely good news for European Tour members, who were given an outline of the plans at the Qatar Masters recently,” Lawrenson wrote. “If events with the prestige of the Australian Open, the Aussie Masters and the Australian PGA Championship made their way on to the schedule in December, it would be a significant upgrade on the slim offerings at the moment.” On hearing the news, Greg Norman endorsed it, while Adam Scott told Golfweek that our Tour needed some help and a merger with Europe "might be a positive thing." With 24 hours of Lawrenson’s report being published, PGA of Australia Chief Executive Brian Thorburn tried to douse the fire, saying talks of a merger were “nonsense”. “We have had discussions about the Perth International and renewal talks about that tournament but a conversation of merging and takeover of all events is completely off the mark,” Thorburn told SEN. But it is the story that won’t go away, with European Tour Chief Operating Officer and Director of International Policy, Keith Waters, throwing petrol on the fire when he told Golf World: “The European Tour is committed to increasing playing opportunities for our members, and we continue to work closely with other governing bodies and co-sanctioning partners, including the PGA of Australia, to enable this.” Interesting! Merging with the European Tour makes more sense than sticking with OneAsia, which, in my opinion, is dead in the water. OneAsia was meant to grow and rival the likes of the PGA and European Tours. With a schedule of events as infrequent as taxis on New Year’s Eve, OneAsia offers Australian players a chance to earn some money but the long period between events is hardly ideal. When it comes to the Australian leg of OneAsia events, the best Asian-based players on OneAsia stay home and unknown pros who struggle to break 90 get starts in our showpiece events ... sometimes at the expense of promising local players. The most obvious benefit of merging with the European Tour is our tournament fields will become stronger and enable the PGA Tour of Australasia to attract more sponsorship, media coverage and spectators, which ultimately helps the growth of the game. On the playing side of the ledger, it would open the door to European Tour membership for our rising stars, where there is more money and ranking points. This story won’t go away ... someone should call the fire brigade. The wraparound schedule of tournaments on the 2014/15 PGA Tour includes 47 tournaments, of which just two are not contested as strokeplay (the modified Stableford Barracuda Championship being the other). Surely it’s not too much to ask for a secondary, cut-throat matchplay event to find a place on the calendar? OTG EURO TOUR MERGER A MUST TALK THAT MERGER NEGOTIATIONS ARE WELL ADVANCED BETWEEN THE PGA TOUR OF AUSTRALIA & THE EUROPEAN TOUR WON'T GO AWAY by Brendan James Golf Australia Editor Awarded #1 Overall Winner in the ‘2015 MyGolfSpy Most Wanted Driver Awards’ # 1 MOST WANTED DRIVER 2015 LEARN MORE the VIEW
OTG Express 144
OTG Express 146