Players sway Euro Tour to Final Series changes
Monday, March 17, 2014
Players' power has won a significant victory over the European Tour with the announcement that the European Tour no longer requires its members to play in two out of the first three events of the Final Series to qualify for the DP World Tour Championship.
That’s one of three major changes announced today to the Euro Tour’s season finale.
The Tour also announced a bigger bonus pool. The top 15 players on the money list after the DP World Tour Championship will share $5 million. Last year the top 10 shared a purse of $3.75 million.
The field for the DP World Championship will comprise the leading 60 available players at the conclusion of the Turkish Airlines Open rather than the only those finishing inside the top 60 as per last year.
The European Tour has also introduced a new points system. At the conclusion of the Perth International, prize money on the Race to Dubai (the money list) will be converted into points, with one Euro equaling one point. Each Final Series event will then carry a total points breakdown of 10,000,000, with the winner receiving 1,666,600 points.
The European Tour’s tournament committee instigated the changes.
“The new regulations and the new points system are a good move,” said Thomas Bjorn, tournament committee chairman. “It means if you miss some of those events it will be difficult to win The Race to Dubai, so there is an incentive to play in as many Final Series events as possible. The goal for us was to get the top players to play in the Final Series and this will hopefully help do that.”
Henrik Stenson, Europe’s leading money winner last year, welcomed the changes.
“It’s good to evaluate and make tweaks to any system,” said the Swede. “These changes are for the better and won’t cut anyone out if they don’t want to play all of the Final Series events.”
Dropping the requirement to play in two out of the first three Final Series events is the biggest change, and comes after a mini-rebellion by some players.
Controversy surrounded the Final Series’ debut last year, the Euro Tour’s copied version of the FedEx Cup. Charl Schwartzel, Sergio Garcia and Ernie Els were ruled ineligible for the season-ending Dubai tournament because they hadn’t fulfilled the criteria of playing in two of the first three Final Series tournaments.
Internationals Sports Management boss Chubby Chandler, manager for Schwartzel at the time, was especially critical of the European Tour and lobbied hard to get the rule changed.
“I’m very happy to see that we’ve reached a middle ground which should help make us all happy,” Garcia said.
Not surprisingly, Schwartzel also welcomed the changes. “I will always try to support The European Tour when I can and it’s great to see that they are also trying to look after us with these new rules,” he said.
Chalk up another victory to player power.