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TEE TO GREEN, STEVE SCOTT: The DP World Tour needs some love from its partners at the end of a fraught year

Jon Rahm won both the DP World Tour titles in 2019, and is back this year.

This week marks the proper end of the 2022 golf tour season, with the DP World Championship completing the DP World Tour’s schedule for the year.

There’s bits and bobs left, of course. The PGA Tour, already into next season, grinds on relentlessly, although not really gaining our full attention again until January.

There’s the other little end of year distractions. Well, a decent distraction actually this year, with Tiger Woods confirmed as playing his own Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas in a fortnight.

The man hasn’t played competitively since his emotional send-off at St Andrews in July. It’ll be great to see him, and interesting to see where he is health-wise.

The schism has become a chasm

But there’s a feeling of relief almost to have reached the end of 2022 tour schedule proper. It’s been a fraught, often exhausting year. The schism in golf has opened up like a chasm, and really the front line of battle is now the DP World Tour.

The PGA Tour has, I think, constructed a reasonably strong bulwark against LIV.

It may yet lose further names to Area 54. The rumour mill grinds on, without any evidence but for those remarkably well-organised Pro-LIV twitter accounts.

But I don’t see the wave of names that would be needed to hole the tour below the waterline. There’s certainly no evidence whatsoever that entente between the two sides is anywhere close.

The DP World Tour is in far greater danger. Not so much from further defections, but from the money LIV’s Saudi backers have directed into the Asian Tour. There’s an alternative now, well recompensed, that many DPWT regulars will be tempted to.

Keith Pelley, the embattled CEO of the DPWT, has put together a package to hold the line – guaranteed money for tour members, although at $150,000 way short of the PGA Tour’s similar $500,000.

There’s also the 10 PGA Tour cards next year. I’m much more sanguine about these than many observers. The natural direction of ambitious players has always been from Europe to the PGA Tour – even for the Famous Five of the 1980s.

It was the same in the 2000s generation. Some stayed and based themselves full-time in the US, many did not. Roots and family kept them with a foot in both camps.

Put it this way, if Bob MacIntyre gets one of those tour cards, can you see him leaving Oban for eight or nine months of the year? Aye, right.

Venues, sponsors still not flocking to LIV

I’m also fairly sanguine about the loss of Valderrama, which is off the 2023 schedule and set to hold a LIV event. It’s a shame for those who love the maze through the cork trees, but there’s no flood of venues following them.

Neither do I see any sign of major sponsors for the breakaway tour. The new sponsor LIV trumpeted at their Jeddah event, Roshn, are actually the Saudi regime’s real estate arm.

But the DPWT needs some good news to shore itself up this week. It’s partly provided by just about a full house of tour members and European names showing up in support – McIlroy, Rahm, Fitzpatrick, Fleetwood, Hovland and Lowry.

But it also needs some concrete support from America. The other week Paul McGinley, a tour board member, pleaded for patience that the strategic partnership with the PGA Tour is actually going to work for the DPWT.

Especially in the light of the radical changes to the PGA Tour hammered out by leading players at the Delaware meeting. They didn’t give any hint of benefits to the tour’s associates outside the US.

Something is coming

That assurance is coming, McGinley indicated. In all my many dealings with the former Ryder Cup captain I’ve never had any reason to doubt him or to question the veracity of what he’s said.

In T2Gs past we’ve argued for a realignment of the golf season with events in Europe moving to the late summer/early autumn. The BMW PGA made the jump, and the Irish Open is finally following next year.

And of course, there remains the co-sanctioned Genesis Scottish Open. This arrangement was a huge success this summer.

Not only does it need to join the “elevated” status under the new PGA Tour structure, we need more co-sanctioned events. Those who have made that schedule switch are obvious contenders.

The DPWT is where it is. I’m glad Pelley and the board rejected the Saudi approaches – such as they were – and instead went in with the PGA Tour. But that decision is long made and established and we ain’t going back now.

A particularly tough school

The world of sport’s most exhausting job interview is ongoing in Tarragona right now. It’s the DPWT’s Q School final. Six rounds of career-changing torment.

At the halfway point there’s a cut of 70, and Stevie Gallacher finished one shot out. It means the veteran Scot (it’s painful to call him that having first covered him when he was 17) is dependent on invitations in 2023.

He should get quite a few of those. And there’s the memory of his incredible 2010 season, when he had a low category after an illness and was dependent on invites. He made nearly €1m that year and just four years later was on the Ryder Cup team.

You’re naturally drawn to the list of those others who didn’t make the cut. David Howell, a member of the best European Ryder Cup team ever assembled.

Former Dunhill winner Simon Dyson. Gregory Havret, who nearly won the US Open in 2010. Paul Dunne, who was Ireland’s next big thing just a couple of years back. Joachim B Hansen, thought to be one of the Danish new wave.

40 or more will fall by the time we’re done at Tarragona. Only 25 players plus ties get their cards for 2023. It’s a brutally tough old school, to be sure.