Rory McIlroy has said that he's out of any new world super tour but the Premier Golf League remain unfazed as they unveiled part of their plans
The details of the proposed Premier Golf League are now starting to emerge properly after the initial anonymous email and whispers of the past few weeks.
We’ve had our first tweet from an account that was set up in November last year – “Nobody owns golf. Golf is owned by everyone who enjoys it, watches it and thinks about it – in other words, you #PGL” – and, to add to the intrigue, they are following nobody.
And now we have the name of their CEO who has been in talks with certain parts of the media. The attorney and London-based director at Barclays Capital, Andrew Gardiner, has explained why now was the right time to explain at least some of the key points after all the recent speculation.
“I figured now was probably time. I’m aware of enough people saying we have to speak and I wanted to make sure people had the ability to know where we’re coming from.”
Which is where?
What we know is that it 48 players will play an 18-event, 54-hole schedule with 10 of those in the States and swings through Europe, Asia, Australia and one stop in the Middle East, along with the four majors – and it could get going as early as January 2022. As for the 12 four-man team aspect a captain will decide which two team members will count towards their effort before each round.
The big question after the past week is how they view the Rory McIlroy “I’m out” reaction of the possibility of a new world super circuit, explaining that he wanted to be on the ‘right side of history’.
“It brought to mind the Mark Twain quote, ‘Rumours of my death were greatly exaggerated,’ as if this were some fatal wound,” Gardiner said. “Everything we’ve done in the past six years was meant to be on the right side of history.”
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The idea of all this stemmed from Gardiner writing down a 100-page manifesto over three days about how golf could look if it were to start over again. That was 10 years ago, now he could be less than two years from pulling off what Greg Norman attempted back in the day.
Another interesting aspect is what happens when a player drops out of the league, where would he get to play the following year having burnt his proverbial bridges with the PGA Tour?
Commissioner Jay Monahan said in an email to players that taking membership in the new tour would preclude membership on the PGA Tour – any player who is looking to play on another tour requires a release from their home tour.
“That depends whether we achieve collaboration [with the PGA Tour],” Gardiner added. “And it’s possible we don’t. There will be a draft system in place and an opportunity for that golfer to play his way back in. If he doesn’t, he then becomes like any other golfer who has the freedom to apply to become a member of any other tour.”
To soften the blow and add to the appeal there will be parachute payments to anyone dropping off the new tour.
“When we speak about collaboration, we envisage a stronger structure where everybody is plugged in and the Premier Golf League merely forms the top of the pyramid,” Gardiner explained. “It’s hard to imagine a situation where a player who is regarded as one of the best in the world is prevented from plying his trade wherever he chooses but I’m not in a position to make that decision now.”
Other snippets are that the 18-event schedules would be pretty strict, presumably to benefit the team element, though players could be substituted out when injured.
As yet no agreements with any players have been signed.
And other topics for future debate are the courses where these events would be played ad where they stand on the distance debate.
Gardiner added that a decision on whether the Premier Golf League will become reality ‘will hopefully be made in the not-too-distant future’.