European Tour pros warned to expect significant changes when golf returns
Last Updated: 14/04/20 5:52pm
European Tour players have been warned of the "profound impact" caused by the suspension of golf during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Tour's chief executive, Keith Pelley, has emailed all professional members detailing the significant changes they can expect when competitive golf resumes.
Pelley admits the possibility of reduced prize funds is highly likely, while various tournaments will have decreased infrastructure in a condensed schedule which could feature multiple events being played in the same week.
There has not been a regular event on the European Tour since Jorge Campillo won the Qatar Masters at the beginning of March, and the next scheduled tournament is currently the BMW International Open in late June.
But more postponements and cancellations are expected to be announced in the coming weeks, with Pelley indicating the first week of September as a potential date for tournament golf to return.
The email to players read: "Our tour has enjoyed a significant period of growth in recent years, in terms of prize funds, playing opportunities and the overall standard of our events, as well as our broadcast product.
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"The impact of the coronavirus has stopped this rapid momentum in its tracks, and it will, in fact, require us to reassess many elements. You should therefore be prepared that when we do resume playing;
- The schedule and the infrastructure of tournaments could look radically different from what you have been used to. Many of the things you have become accustomed to, such as top-class players' lounges or courtesy car services will most likely assume a different appearance, if indeed they are present at all.
- Prize funds will also most likely be different. The reality is, the pandemic is going to have a profound impact on the tour financially, as well as many of our partners, both in sponsorship and broadcast areas.
- We are looking at options such as (a) multiple tournaments in the same location; (b) two tournaments in the same week, or three in a fortnight; or (c) three or four tournaments back-to-back in the UK with a 14-day 'quarantine' period ahead of that to allow players not from the UK to come over and self-isolate in advance, if that health requirement is still in place then.
Pelley also revealed the Tour were "simply not in a position" to assist players and caddies with finances during the sporting shutdown, something the PGA Tour have been able to maintain. Pelley is reported to have agreed to a salary reduction, and some European Tour staff have been furloughed.