Faced with the test early in 2020 on how to make professional golf work amid a global pandemic, the game’s biggest stakeholders worked together on a plan that salvaged a good deal of the overall schedule. During that process, the potential for a long-term partnership emerged between the PGA Tour and European Tour, one that was formally revealed on Friday.
Officials at the two tours announced they are forming a “strategic alliance” that will include working together on commercial opportunities including the sharing of global media rights. Specifics of the arrangement are still to come, according to both tours, but the partnership will include working together on global scheduling, prize funds and playing opportunities for each tour’s respective memberships.
“We are thrilled to announce this further strengthening of our partnership with the European Tour,” said PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan, “and we look forward to working together for the benefit of the men’s professional game and for golf fans around the world.”
“Today’s announcement is the formalization of a closer working relationship between the tours in recent years,” said Keith Pelley, European Tour chief executive. “It was one which was crystalized earlier this year when both Jay and I were part of the working group containing representatives of the four majors and the LPGA, a group which helped shape the remainder of the golfing calendar for 2020 during unprecedented times.
“We shared the challenges of working through a year neither of us could have ever imagined, and we found definite synergies in many areas of our respective tours. That gave us the impetus to move forward together and arrive at this momentous announcement we are making today.”
One part of the agreement revealed on Friday was that the PGA Tour would acquire a minority investment stake in European Tour Productions, which produces and distributes content internationally for the tour.
After halting play for several months at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, both the PGA Tour and European Tour resumed their seasons in the summer, holding tournaments without spectators. Each tour created specific health and safety plans, creating “bubbles” to try and limit the exposure of players, volunteers and officials conducting the events. Both tours have had a limited number of players test positive for COVID since their restarts.