DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP)After 50 years, the European Tour by name is no more.
Starting in 2022, it will be rebranded as the DP World Tour in a deal that is set to double the total prize money to more than $200 million.
European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley said the title change better reflects the global nature of the tour.
On the 2022 schedule, only 23 of the 47 events will be staged on European soil.
”In many ways, it’s a misnomer,” Pelley said of the European Tour’s current title. ”We are definitely a world tour.
”We will always remember our heritage,” Pelley added, ”and those who have gone before us who helped us shape our tour … but we also rejoice in our global footprint.”
Pelley said there will be a minimum prize fund of $2 million for each tournament and prize money of ”north of $200 million” for the season, compared with $104 million in 2021 and $70 million in 2020.
The deal is a huge boost to the finances of the European Tour which were badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic, causing a shutdown of the tour for three months from March 2020.
The European Tour nearly a year ago announced a strategic alliance with the PGA Tour after one of the proposed new leagues had offered to take over Europe. The Scottish Open is now part of the PGA Tour, while European members have access to two U.S. tour events. More collaboration is possible in the fall months.
Meanwhile, Greg Norman is leading a new company called LIV Golf Investments, backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, which is putting $200 million into 10 new tournaments on the Asian Tour. Those events and where they are played have not been announced.
The new tournaments do not include the Saudi International, which is no longer part of the European Tour schedule after three years ago and since signed a deal with the Asian Tour.
In a video message, four-time major champion Rory McIlroy said the deal was a ”great news for global golf.”
Tommy Fleetwood, who was the Race to Dubai champion in 2017, said it provided ”stability” and ”excitement” to golfers on the tour.
DP World, a Dubai-based logistics company, has sponsored the season-ending event on the European Tour which has been held in Dubai since 2009 and called ”The Race to Dubai.” It was previously the ”Order of Merit.”
The European Tour was founded in 1972 but events have been increasingly held outside the continent in recent years, with many of the biggest now staged in the Middle East.
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