Is the standard on the PGA Tour miles ahead of the European Tour?
Yes, says James Savage
Without meaning any disrespect to the European Tour (that’s what everyone says before being blatantly disrespectful) – the PGA Tour is a much tougher place to win.
Ask someone like Paul Casey for example with 13 European Tour wins and two PGA Tour wins to his name.
See what Ian Poulter thinks with 12 European Tour wins and three PGA Tour wins.
And for good measure, lets take a look at Lee Westwood’s career which includes TWENTY THREE European Tour wins and just the two PGA Tour victories.
To me it just seems every week on the PGA Tour has a field with more of the world’s best players.
And that’s totally understandable with the money and FedEx cup points on offer.
Ask any up-and-coming European Tour star if they have ambitions to play on the PGA Tour full time and I bet I can guess the answer.
Yes, a lot of these guys have split schedules in order to make the Ryder Cup team but if that wasn’t the case then I think we’d see even more European players out on the PGA Tour every week.
It’s a shame that the PGA Tour is much stronger than the European Tour but just look the money on offer, the crowds week-in, week-out, the fact three of the four majors are over there etc…
So it’s obviously going to be more difficult to win when the fields are stronger. Surely?
No, says Mark Townsend
I’m not sure anyone could argue about the depth of talent on the PGA Tour given at least half our Ryder Cup team are already in the States when we fly out for an away match.
The PGA Tour is the place to be to test your skills (and fill your wallets).
But I genuinely think people get it very wrong in terms of putting players like, for example Webb Simpson, on a pedestal because he’s a major winner and PGA Tour superstar compared to someone like a Tommy Fleetwood or Tyrrell Hatton.
By the time a Ryder Cup match comes around and a European Tour player proper – i.e. someone who doesn’t split their time in the States like a Thomas Pieters – is able to make a birdie then some observers seem genuinely amazed.
Paul Lawrie hit the opening tee shot at Brookline in 1999 and, despite winning the Open a few months earlier, a few were stunned when he split the opening fairway. And then beat Phil Mickelson and David Duval.
It’s getting harder and harder to win on any tour, players don’t win half a dozen times like Seve or Monty might have done in years gone by, and the Americans who do come over for a well-paid adventure to Europe rarely look like a cut above.
In the early swings plenty of our mid-range stars have a go at the PGA Tour and, once they have acclimatised to the speed of the greens and the different grasses and the whole shift in culture, then they can settle very nicely into things and very quickly look like potential winners.
The Challenge and European Tour can seem like a world away from the PGA Tour but you would imagine it can teach you a lot about yourself in terms of not being too pampered and learning different skills for some very different courses.
We are forever hearing about a ‘World Tour’ at some point, I’d back our boys to take their fair share of the spoils if this ever came about.
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