It’s time for the European Tour to go truly global – and create a proper fifth major
The European Tour is doing a lot of things very well right now. GolfSixes earlier this year was fantastic, including another tournament in the UK and having stars of the women’s game competing alongside the men – which I’ll talk about some more another time. The Belgian Knockout was another masterstroke with its nine-hole matchplay rounds – although it suffered with a weak position in the schedule and a depleted field – you can’t win them all!
Innovation has brought a degree of success, people are talking about what’s coming next, how the men’s and women’s tours work together and how the European Tour mounts a fight against the big boys over in the US on the PGA Tour.
The biggest part of the fight needs to be getting a fifth major, and a second outside the US, onto the calendar as soon as possible.
With the US hosting three of the game’s big four back-to-back from 2019 as the US PGA returns to May, it will feel like an eternity waiting for the game’s biggest stars and events to head outside of the States for the season’s final major in the UK.
The first option, and the one I’d prefer living in the UK, for a fifth major would be an event somewhere in Europe. After all, this is the European Tour’s heartland and where its flagship events take place. Courses like Valderrama, Le Golf National, the K Club and Gleneagles would all make fantastic venues for a major. I may, however, have an even more interesting and more lucrative proposition.
With so much positivity and such effort being made in growing the game in Asian markets, and with the top of the women’s game being dominated by Asian players, surely it’s time to double down on golf outside the traditional heartlands of America and Europe and give the Eastern half of the map its own travelling major championship.
The European Tour has long been a global proposition – its South African, Middle Eastern and Asian events a staple of the calendar. All this part of the world needs now is its own major. It already has some of the most stunning golf courses in the world – in the Middle East, China and Australia – and they deserve a chance to grab a piece of the global spotlight once a year.
Some may say an event like this would suffer the curse of The Players in the US – a major worthy field, purse and course without the respect of a being part of the club, but if the sponsors can give a big enough purse and the players are willing to put the time in to give the event a proper standing, it may just inspire millions or billions more people to pick up a club and give us all another event to properly look forward to every season.