The PGA Tour and DP World Tour announced on Tuesday that they have upgraded their previous “strategic alliance” to an “operational joint venture partnership” as part of a 13-year deal.
“It was clear from the outset that our Strategic Partnership with the European Tour Group was a powerful agreement for both sides, and we are thrilled with today’s announcement of this expanded partnership,” said PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan.
What that actually means is the PGA Tour is increasing its investment in the circuit formally known as the European Tour, including prize fund levels, which are set to grow annually for the next five years.
As part of the new joint venture, the PGA Tour will increase its existing stake in the European Tour Productions from 15 percent to 40 percent, and use the circuit’s existing global footprint to coordinate a worldwide schedule.
The joint venture also provides a formal pathway from the DP World Tour to the PGA Tour for the first time. As such, beginning in 2023, the leading ten players on the end of season DP World Tour Rankings will earn PGA Tour cards.
It also provides a clearly defined pathway for top players around the world. Players from the Sunshine Tour and ISPS Handa PGA Tour of Australasia, with whom the DP World Tour already has existing strategic alliances, will enjoy a formal pathway to the DP World Tour.
“This move will significantly enhance the meritocracy that has successfully served the professional game on both sides of the Atlantic for more than 50 years,” DP World Tour executive director Keith Pelley said. “It is a natural extension and progression of what we have been doing over the past few years and I passionately believe that this move is the right thing for our players, our Tour, our fans, and the game of golf in general.
“Our two tours have undoubtedly drawn closer over the past few years and today’s announcement strengthens both Tours for the betterment of both memberships.”
Terms of the PGA Tour’s financial support and investment in the DP World Tour weren’t disclosed by either party. Sources say the Tour will pour about $100 million into its business partner.
The strategic alliance originally was struck in November 2020 as a defense mechanism against the formation of the Premier Golf League and to fend off the Saudi-backed LIV Golf. Members of the DP World Tour reportedly have been split, with some players wanting Pelley to issue harsh penalties on defectors to LIV Golf and others asking for him to spurn the PGA Tour and reach an agreement with LIV Golf. In many ways, the future of men’s professional golf hung in the balance as Pelley weighed the DP World Tour’s options. This marks a significant victory for Monahan.
“We will continue to collaborate on a global schedule and key commercial areas as we draw our organizations and memberships even closer together while innovating to provide the most entertaining and compelling golf possible to fans around the world,” Monahan said.
The original partnership included collaboration on issues such as media, playing opportunities, scheduling and prize funds and was widely perceived as the first step toward an eventual merger of the two bodies.