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Stephen Gallacher: Strengthened alliance between golf tours is vital in the wake of LIV Golf

European Tour CEO Keith Pelley.
DP World Tour chief executive Keith Pelley

The collaborative efforts of the DP World Tour and the PGA Tour to stave off the threat of LIV Golf shows no sign of slowing after the two tours strengthened their strategic alliance on Tuesday.

The players had heard so many myths about what would happen. There were rumours of anything from £700million to £1billion being invested.

There has clearly been a significant sum invested by the PGA Tour as it has increased its stake in the DP World Tour from 15% to 40%.

But it is the 10 spots which will become available on the PGA Tour for the DP World Tour’s top 10 which has got everyone talking.

The cynics say this development will turn my tour into a feeder tour for the PGA.

I don’t agree with that at all.

In the United States, if you play on the Korn Ferry Tour you have one goal – to win a card on the PGA Tour.

Similarly, if you play on the Challenge Tour in Europe your goal is to win a DP World Tour card.

I don’t believe earning a PGA Tour card will be the sole focus of anyone on the DP World Tour.

If you finish in the top 10 and earn a card then great but if you finish 12th you’ve had a great year regardless and I would imagine you have earned entry to all the big events the following season as a result.

Potential talent drain is a concern

What I am slightly concerned about is the potential for a talent drain from Europe to the US.

Clearly there is much to be thrashed out as to how this will all work. For example, if you go to the US and lose your card do you come back to the DP World Tour?

But I still believe this is ultimately a positive move for all concerned.

Two tours are determined to not only work together but stay strong in the face of a concerted effort from a rival tour to poach our leading players.

It is an alliance in every sense of the word and one which is vital in the current climate.

We can still offer good prize money in events, ranking points, entry into majors and world ranking points.

On top of that a pathway from one tour to another now exists too. That was a pipe dream when I turned professional.

Just admit it’s about the money

Patrick Reed has joined LIV Golf.
Patrick Reed has joined LIV Golf.

While the two established tours are strengthening their working relationship our now departed colleagues who have joined LIV Golf seem to be tying themselves in knots in avoiding the mention of money.

There’s a bit of brainwashing going on with new arrivals Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka tripping over themselves to avoid mentioning the number one reason they have joined LIV.

Reed says one of the big attractions for him was the fact LIV Golf plays a shotgun start and he felt by comparison tee times in rounds was unfair given how conditions can change.

Koepka was even more bizarre. He claims he has left the PGA Tour as he needed time off and as a result will not feel as if he is forced to play on the new tour.

I’m not sure who is going to tell him the new tour dates are set in stone and while there are fewer dates you are expected to play in them all.

It’s just another needless way of masking the truth of the matter – the money on offer is too much for them to turn down.

Open opportunities are running out

The Open Championship trophy, The Claret Jug.
The Open Championship trophy, The Claret Jug pictured on the first tee at the Old Course.

It’s great to be back in Ireland for the Irish Open this week where the stakes are high.

This is a great event and it feels like being home among such passionate fans.

If you are lucky enough to play this week and next week at the Scottish Open it is a fantastic preparation for what promises to be a magical and memorable Open at St Andrews.

I’ve said all year my goal has been to be in the field for the 150th Open and I will be giving everything to be there.

With no Scots making it through from final qualifying on Tuesday I really hope we can add to the home contingent taking part by doing something spectacular in the next two events.

I was sad to see Sandy Lyle have to pull out of his bid to qualify due to a hamstring injury.

Like me, he was desperate to be there. It’s a special year and he wanted to be part of it all.

It shows the respect he has for the event that despite not being at 100% he wanted to give it a go.

Had it been any other year I doubt he would have taken the risk.

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