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jordan smith

‘The DP World Tour feeds the PGA Tour – it’s always been like that’

The current alliance between the DP World and PGA Tours have proved to be controversial. Matt Chivers asked current European Ryder Cup hopeful Jordan Smith for his thoughts
 

Despite going through a significant winless drought on the DP World Tour, Jordan Smith has emerged as one of the circuit’s most consistent performers. And at the perfect time, as well.

At the end of 2022, the tour announced it would increase its prize money for the current season to £124 million – along with the Earnings Assurance Programme.

Not that this initiative would concern Smith.

The Englishman made eight top-10s last season before winning the Portugal Masters at the end of October – setting an unofficial scoring record of 30-under and winning his first title since 2017.

Playing on the PGA Tour is the aim for Smith one day, as it is for so many players, but this concept has led to questions about the DP World Tour’s standing in golf and its inferiority to its big American brother.

jordan smith

The top 10 players from this year’s Race to Dubai Rankings will earn cards on the PGA Tour, something Smith has locked in his sights – but does this make the European circuit a feeder?

The formerly-named European Tour extended its alliance with the PGA Tour last summer to 2035, guaranteeing a steady increase in prize money over the next five years.

But since then, the US circuit has announced two different schedules of elevated events that don’t include any tournaments in Europe – when the contrary could have been a strong sign of alliance.

“I think the DP World Tour is in a strong position,” Smith told NCG. “It has always been, what some people say, a feeder tour, but it’s always been a route for guys to get on to the PGA Tour.

“It’s always been that way. The top European players from the European Tour, once they’ve got their chance to go to the PGA Tour, they’ve taken it.

“So it’s always been like that, but people have worded it differently. It’s always been a path for European golfers to get out to America.

“Those 10 cards will open up a fair few doors for guys coming through the DP World Tour. There’s a good handful of players that know they’ve got a good chance of trying to secure those cards.

“It’s definitely a great thing to see and a great opportunity for us to try and take for next year.”

There was a hint of disappointment in Smith’s voice with his current progress in 2023, despite an exciting start to the year at the Hero Cup in Abu Dhabi.

This Ryder Cup-style event between players from Great Britain & Ireland and Continental Europe was a way for Luke Donald to catch a glimpse of potential captain’s picks for the biennial match in Rome in September.

Smith formed a particularly strong partnership with two-time Ryder Cup participant Tommy Fleetwood – who is most likely to make his third appearance for Europe this year.

It might not be often one player’s qualification could sway the captain’s pick of another, but Smith is hoping to make Donald’s side in five months’ time and reignite the bond with his countryman.

jordan smith

Donald will have six picks this time around, more than any European captain in the event’s history, so could this open the door for Smith to make his debut?

“The biggest aim is to get into the Ryder Cup and with the situation with the tour and qualification, that could be a possibility for me,” Smith added.

“It’s about getting the right week where things click together. It would be unreal and a dream come true to play in the Ryder Cup.

“I played with [Donald] for the first time at the end of last year in South Africa. It was nice to get to know him because it was the first time I’d spoken to him. I spent a lot of time with him at the Hero Cup.

“It was good just chatting to him one to one about golf, things outside of golf and just to get to know him. He’s a great guy and hopefully, I’m lucky enough to be one of those guys that he picks, or I could qualify.

“I really enjoy match play. In both the foursomes and fourballs, I played with Tyrrell [Hatton] and then I played with Bob [MacIntyre] and played with Tommy as well which was great.

“It was a great relationship that I and Tommy had. We gelled really nicely which was great for Luke and the other vice captains too.”

Jordan Smith

Jordan Smith won an Electrified GV70 for hitting a hole-in-one at the Genesis Scottish Open. For more information visit Genesis website.

Matt Chivers

Matt Chivers

Now on the wrong side of 25, Matt has been playing golf since the age of 13 and was largely inspired to take up the game by countless family members who played golf during his childhood.

Matt is a member at Royal Cinque Ports in Deal playing off a 5 handicap, just a pitching wedge away from his hometown of Dover where he went to school and grew up. He has previously been a member at Etchinghill and Walmer and Kingsdown in Kent.

Having studied history at the University of Liverpool, Matt went on to pass his NCTJ Exams in Manchester a year later to fulfil his lifelong ambition of becoming a journalist. He picked up work experience along the way at places such as the Racing Post, the Independent, Sportsbeat and the Lancashire Evening Post.

Matt joined NCG in February 2023 and is the website’s main source of tour news, features and opinion. He has reported live from events such as The Open, the Ryder Cup and The Players Championship, having also interviewed and spent time with some of the biggest names in the sport.

Consuming tour golf on what is a 24/7 basis, you can come to Matt for informed views on the game and the latest updates on the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA Tour, Ladies European Tour and LIV Golf.

What’s in Matt’s bag: Cobra LTDx LS driver, Cobra LTDx 3-wood, TaylorMade P7MC irons, Ping Glide 4.0 wedges, Odyssey putter.

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