by Jeff Skinner
This week the professional golf season starts to heat up as many of the bigger names in the sport get off their couches and get back on the course. Torrey Pines plays host to the PGA Tour at The Farmers Insurance Open and half way around the world The European Tour moves from its South African swing to the United Arab Emirates for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.
Tiger Woods has taken some heat for passing up a PGA Tour stop to play the European Tour but appearance fees will do that to a golfer. The European Tour operates differently than the PGA Tour as they pay many players for merely showing up. The PGA Tour only pays those players that make the cut. It is a formula that works for the European Tour as they are able to tap into plenty of cash from all around the world.
And they play literally all around the world. A name change may be in order for the Euro Tour as they crisscross the world touching down on every continent except South America and Antarctica, and if they could find a sponsor they’d tee off at The Penguin Classic.
The European Tour, if they still insist on calling it that, has 46 tournaments on its schedule in 25 different countries. Only 22 of those tournaments are actually in Europe. And the country that hosts the most tournaments in Europe is not, Scotland or England. It is Spain, with four tour stops during the season.
As a matter of fact the United Arab Emirates has as many events as Scotland with three. South Africa has four, England, Italy, France, Portugal, China and South Korea all host two apiece.
Amazingly, the country with the most official events on The European Tour is its biggest rival, the USA and its PGA Tour. Since three of the four major championships and three of the four World Golf Championships take place in the U.S, the U.S. is the country with the biggest piece of the Euro Tour pie. Strange isn’t it.
Maybe it is time to consider jettisoning the name European Tour in favor of something that really reflects the flavor of the tour. Maybe the “All World Golf Tour” or the “European Plus Everywhere Else Tour”. Or maybe just one word would do it: “The European World Tour.” That’s the ticket. I’ll send that off to the boys at the Euro Tour, wherever they are.