European Tour announces prize boost for new Rolex Series in 2017
By Sky Sports Golf
Last Updated: 15/11/16 1:48pm
The BMW PGA Championship is one of a number of events set for a prize boost in 2017 as part of the European Tour’s new money-spinning Rolex Series.
The series will feature a minimum of seven tournaments in locations across the world, including the traditional season-ending DP World Tour Championship, all offering prize money of at least $7m.
Beginning at Wentworth in May, the series will head back to the UK in July for the Irish Open and the Scottish Open before the Italian Open in October.
The stretch of tournaments will also include the three current Final Series events in Turkey, South Africa and Dubai, with European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley confident of more events being added in the future.
"We are delighted to unveil the Rolex Series today and we are committed to developing and building on it over the coming years," Pelley said.
"I'm going to caveat that by saying a minimum of seven tournaments, as we expect to have eight or nine in 2017. We're currently under discussions with some other partners as we speak.
"They are all a minimum of seven million dollar prize purse, and I say a minimum because obviously the DP World is here at eight million, and that is the threshold that we felt that was needed to produce something of a high-quality like the Rolex Series."
The new series has been welcomed by world No 2 Rory McIlroy, with the Irish Open, hosted by his foundation, set to have more than €2m extra prize money than the 2016 event.
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"I'm very grateful for the European Tour and Rolex including the Irish Open in this Rolex Series," McIlroy said. "The Irish Open's been given a great date as well. It's two weeks before the Open on a links golf course (Portstewart).
"We're really excited about it. It doesn't change my schedule that much but it gives guys an incentive to maybe play a little bit more on this side of the pond leading up to the Open Championship and hopefully get some great fields.
"It's getting more and more difficult to play two tours. With the regulations that the PGA Tour are putting upon us and with how great the events are becoming over here, it's hard to jump back and forth and play tournaments.
"So I think you might see more guys spending prolonged periods in either/or, because jumping back and forth, you can do it for so long, but in the long run, it just doesn't work too well."
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