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Clutch Pro Tour

Clutch Pro Tour founder: ‘LIV Golf emergence is brilliant for developing players’

LIV Golf has had at least one positive impact on the third tier of golf in the UK, as Clutch Pro Tour CEO Tom Hayward told NCG
 

Amid all the controversies, bitter rivalries, and legal dramas, one overlooked aspect of LIV Golf’s emergence has been the impact on the developmental tours – particularly in the UK.

Will the masses of money being spent at the top filter down? Will the divide between the big leagues and the mini tours grow even larger? Will emerging talent now be afforded more opportunities? And as always, will the game truly grow as Greg Norman so gleefully assures.

As the breakaway series continues to divide and trigger seismic change in professional golf, the CEO of one developmental tour has weighed in, admitting LIV has been “brilliant for developing players”.

Tom Hayward, CEO of the Clutch Pro Tour, shared his thoughts on LIV’s tectonic impact after his own circuit announced “revolutionary” incentives for 2023.

“In terms of LIV coming to the market, it is brilliant for developing players,” Hayward told The Slam podcast. “If you look at where we are now, and look at the some of the success stories, you’ve had your Richard Mansells, your Ewen Fergusons, standout players on the DP World Tour who, 12 months ago, no one really knew about.”

With a host of DP World Tour stalwarts having signed with LIV Golf – including Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia – Hayward believes their defections have “created space for new talent to emerge” further down the ladder.

He added: “Those guys worked hard to come through the ranks, but typically five or six years ago, pre-Covid, those players would have been going on to the European Tour where it was rammed full of stars, your Garcias, your Westwoods, etc, so them all leaving [for LIV] has created space for new talent to emerge.

“You’ve now got your likes of Richard Mansell and Dale Whitnell, all those guys who were playing mini tour golf a few years ago, they’re now becoming your household names within the DP World Tour. So it’s has opened up a wealth of opportunities for players like that.

“If I’m a Clutch Pro Tour player or a player on the Tartan Tour or any of the other development tours, I’d now be chomping at the bit, because the opportunities are massive.”

But while Hayward believes LIV’s emergence has positively paved the way for new stars to flourish – including from his own circuit – the Clutch Pro Tour boss rejected claims that the masses of money at the top has in any way filtered down.

“I don’t care what anyone says – and we’re obviously on the DP World Tour side – but not any of the major tours are doing anything for the development of tier three golf,” he continued. “That’s not meant to be criticising anyone, because I understand all the struggles that are going on at the top level.

“But there’s no funds, and there’s no sponsorship being filtered down to tier three. So all of the tours at the tier three level across Europe, they’re effectively operating independently.

“So you know, everyone is saying it, but that growing the game thing is an interesting concept because I’m not sure anyone but the tier three tours are doing that. I don’t know think it’s physically possible for that money to get transitioned down down the rank.”

Listen to more from the Clutch Pro Tour co-founder

Tom Hayward was speaking on the latest episode of The Slam, a National Club Golfer podcast, where he went into much more detail about his exciting plans for 2023.

George Cooper

George Cooper

A golf fanatic his entire life, George Cooper is NCG's man for all goings-on at the top level of the game, whether it's the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA or LIV Golf. He also looks after NCG's Twitter and Facebook accounts. George is a member of Woburn, but is not friends with Ian Poulter.

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