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Thorbjorn Olesen WITB

The main talking points about the new DP World Tour schedule

Loads has changed, but not a lot has actually changed, and there's a huge blow to British golf fans as well as Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald. George Cooper and Alex Perry try to make sense of it all
 

The DP World Tour schedule for 2023 was announced this week and, as always, it’s produced a mixed reaction. But what are the biggest talking points? Let’s dive in…

GC: Nothing has changed! Well, not really anyway, except for a bit more dough which we’ll get to in a minute.

As for the schedule, it feels like your classic cut and paste job from 2022, much like the PGA Tour’s ‘elevated’ season. We start in South Africa and conclude with the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, with a few Rolex Series events thrown in for good measure.

There’s been some minor rejigs and few events added to Asia, but you’d struggle to pick them out if you put the 2022 and 2023 schedule side by side.

AP: I really like that it’s a truly global tour, but I’m going to pick three years at random.

In 1978, 11 of the 24 European Tour events were in Great Britain and Ireland. In 1986, it was 12 of 30. In 1999, it was 11 of 40.

And now, a year not picked at random.

In 2023, it will be six.

Three in England, including The Open, two in Scotland, one in Northern Ireland, and one in Ireland. None are in Wales.

It’s not so much the amount any more, it’s about the variety. Outside of Hoylake, and the regular stops at Wentworth and the three venues used for the Dunhill Links, there is very little to get excited about.

The Belfry has hosted the British Masters for the last two seasons, and will continue for four more. It’s a nice enough golf course, but not even close to the best we have to offer.

Think of all the wonderful heathland courses we have to offer. Think of all the mesmerising links courses that are not, and never will be, on The Open rota. This feels like a huge own goal – or whatever the golfing equivalent is.

Yes, yes, money money money, but it’s the British golf fans who are losing out. And without fans, sport is nothing.

On a similar subject, Valderrama won’t be a DP World Tour venue next year, with LIV Golf looking like they’ve snaffled the 1997 Ryder Cup venue for the 2023 campaign.

The Spanish course is immensely popular with fans and players alike, and this is a huge L for Keith Pelley.

GC: While we’re on the topic of LIV – as if we’re ever not at the moment – the DP World Tour has also added two events to Australia for 2023, which reads very much as a response to Greg Norman claiming “I haven’t seen much evidence of the PGA [Tour] doing Australian golfing supporter any favours recently”.

Well, at least their co-aligned circuit now will be, with Pelley staging both the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship and the ISPS Handa Australian Open Down Under as he plots a mini-Aussie swing in 2023.

AP: Shall I just keep playing the role of the bad guy? Another person who won’t be happy is Luke Donald. The Italian Open is being hosted at Marco Simone, in Rome, just months before the Ryder Cup heads there. Unfortunately, it clashes with one of the more popular PGA Tour stops in the Wells Fargo Championship.

Team Europe’s big guns, notably Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Matt Fitzpatrick, Shane Lowry, Viktor Hovland, Tyrrell Hatton and Tommy Fleetwood – all pretty much guaranteed to make the Ryder Cup team – will almost certainly choose Quail Hollow.

GC: But these guys WILL be happy! Onto everyone’s favourite subject – money – and this is comfortably the biggest change of all.

A new Earnings Assurance Programme will be implemented which mimics the PGA Tour’s new model – the ‘mutual alliance’ lives – which means players who compete in at least 15 events are guaranteed to pocket $150,000.

How does this work? Well, let’s take one of the bottom earners from 2022 who played at least 15 events, Dave Coupland. The Englishman played in 18 events and banked just $26,000, meaning under the new initiative, he’d be given an additional $124,000.

Lower down the scale, Challenge Tour players and Q-school grads can claim up to $20,000 for travel costs and tournament expenses.

This is a huge win for the Tour and the players (and absolutely nothing to do with the emergence of LIV, of course…

Alex Perry

Alex Perry

Alex has been the editor of National Club Golfer since 2017. A Devonian who enjoys wittering on about his south west roots, Alex moved north to join NCG after more than a decade in London, the last five of which were with ESPN. Away from golf, Alex follows Torquay United and spends too much time playing his PlayStation or his guitar and not enough time practising his short game.

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