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PGA Tour: Eddie Pepperell says no-cut events 'have no place in the top table of golf'

Eddie Pepperell questions 'strategic alliance' between PGA Tour and DP World Tour after American-based circuit reveals plans for no-cut events with reduced fields; Englishman also tips Matt Wallace to push for Ryder Cup selection; listen to Sky Sports Golf Podcast now

Eddie Pepperell (Associated Press)
Image: Eddie Pepperell criticised the PGA Tour's plans for no-cut events

Eddie Pepperell says no-cut events have "no place in the top table of golf" as he raised concern about the PGA Tour's 'strategic alliance' with the DP World Tour.

The PGA Tour has ratified changes for 2024 that will bring in reduced-field designated events of around 70 to 78 players with no cut, although these will not apply to the majors, The Players or FedEx Cup Playoffs.

The PGA Tour and DP World Tour have joined forces in the fight against the Saudi-backed LIV Golf with the American-based tour offering spots to the top 10 players on the European money list.

Pepperell, speaking on the latest Sky Sports Golf Podcast, said: "No cuts and smaller fields, I don't think have any place in the top table of golf.

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After the announcement of some 'radical' changes to the PGA Tour, Rory McIlroy said 'mediocrity should not be rewarded'

"I think cuts bring about a great storyline and are unique to golf. They can elicit some really important lessons you can learn from.

"Matt Wallace himself said he missed the cut at The Players by one or two shots and then look what he did [winning his maiden PGA Tour title a few weeks later at the Corales Puntacana Championship]. That's why you have a cut.

"Missing the cut at The Players was gut-wrenching for someone like Wallace but he went home and won his next tournament. What are we trying to breed as an industry and into our top players? I don't think it's any good."

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McIlroy, Horschel in favour of PGA Tour changes

World No 2 Rory McIlroy: "I am certainly not one to reward mediocrity. This is the most aspirational Tour to play in the world and we have to keep it that way. It isn't as if the PGA Tour hasn't had no-cut events.

"We have had no-cut events since I have been on Tour for the last 15 years. The no-cut thing just became a big deal when LIV came around."

World No 24 Billy Horschel: "I hope there isn't a division and once it all comes out and is all laid out, everyone can see the opportunities that are there."

Pepperell: Where is the strategic alliance?

On the PGA Tour's relationship with the DP World Tour, Pepperell said: "I think the strategic alliance is not under threat but certainly it would make sense to put more of a microscope on it and say 'where is the alliance?'

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"I know these latest round of changes have taken people high up on our tour aback. These changes on the PGA Tour were player-driven, not by [commissioner] Jay Monahan and his team but by 25 top players.

"Jay doesn't really have much choice but to go along with them by and large if he wants to keep a few big players on his tour so you can see why they get implemented.

"But make no bones about it, it certainly raises the alarm bells for us a tour to say where is this strategic alliance and how is it going to work? Another layer has been put in.

"When these 10 [PGA Tour] cards were agreed upon, you could argue it weakens our tour the year after but remember the incentive that brings guys to come and play our tour as well.

"That has been made even harder now with these latest changes."

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Highlights of Matt Wallace's victory at the Corales Puntacana Championship in the Dominican Republic as the Englishman won his first PGA Tour title

Wallace in Ryder Cup contention?

Wallace followed missing the cut at The Players - the sixth time in seven PGA Tour events he had failed to make the weekend - by finishing seventh at The Valspar Championship a week later and then winning the Corales Puntacana Championship for his first win worldwide since claiming his fourth DP World Tour title at the Made in Denmark in 2018.

Pepperell says the Londoner would be a great addition to the European Ryder Cup team in Rome in September.

On Wallace, Pepperell added: "I think he made some decisions around equipment a few years back which held him back a bit but he is clearly back on the straight and narrow.

"He feels much happier about his swing. I saw a clip of him hitting hit an iron shot and I thought it looked beautiful, well balanced.

"You can probably expect him to kick on and challenge for a Ryder Cup spot and I would say he is exactly the kind of guy we should want in our team.

"I think it's clear and obvious that we are not going to have as strong a team on paper as the Americans. We are going to need great match play players, gutsy players and good putters and I think he fills all those three."

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Sam Burns beats fellow American Cameron Young 6&5 to lift the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play trophy in Austin

Could the Match Play return?

Pepperell also said he would like to see a major match play tournament as part of the PGA Tour's designated series events or towards the end of the year on the DP World Tour.

Last week's WCG-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin - won by Sam Burns as he thrashed Cameron Young 6&5 in the final - is scheduled to be the last edition, a decision world No 3 Jon Rahm lamented when he spoke ahead of the event in Texas.

The World Match Play on the DP World Tour was last held in 2014.

Pepperell said of the Dell Technologies Match Play: "I thought it was a really good match play course when I played it and it's a great city, so I think it is a real shame that tournament is no longer [in Austin].

"There is definitely an opportunity next year for the PGA Tour to create a new event as part of the designated events series, or for the DP World Tour to use the end of the year in 2024 to put in some decent money and maybe even look at getting it back in the UK.

"I think you would get a good field and certainly a great crowd."

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