Lawrence Donegan follows up on a story quietly emerging as a major headache for the PGA Tour, which already has enough problems to worry about. Regarding Phil Mickelson (oh and Vijay too...not that anyone cares) considering playing more in Europe, Donegan explains how this could play out after talking to Dubai Director of Golf Tourism and European Tour head George O'Grady:
In this instance O'Grady's reticence is understandable because there is one more hurdle to be negotiated before any American superstar will commit to playing more events under the European Tour banner. Mickelson aside, there are believed to be other members of US Ryder Cup team contemplating such a move, as well as the likes of Australians Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 US Open champion, and Robert Allenby. But all are waiting for the outcome of next week's meeting in St Andrews of the European Tour's players committee, headed by Thomas Bjorn, in which a decision will be reached over the minimum number of tournaments required to gain Tour membership.Something to ponder here: the FedEx Cup has been a mess as a playoff but with the right adjustments could still work. However, beyond points permutation debates, we're going to see more stories about its timing and the shortened season. No one seems to see an improvement in ending the PGA Tour season when the NFL and college football are just starting out. But more than that, the well-intentioned big fall opening to get golf off the radar screen seems to have strengthened the European Tour's prospects of drawing some of the marquee players listed above.
To outsiders this might seem like an esoteric point, but within the European Tour it is of historic significance. Currently, a player must compete in 11 events to qualify for membership but there is a strong push from the committee's members to have the minimum number of events increased to 13 in order to protect the interests of the rank and file, who play all of their golf under the banner of the European Tour.
Such self-interest is understandable but it threatens the Tour's prospects of attracting the likes of Mickelson and Vijay Singh, another who has expressed an interested in adding European Tour membership to his membership of the PGA Tour in the States.
So in other words, the FedEx Cup concept may be viewed in upcoming media coverage as a failure all around, and a colossal one if it leads to even fewer PGA Tour appearances by name players. Of course, this is what the big names wanted and the Commissioner gave it to them. But at the expense of the PGA Tour's standing as the premier tour in the world?