The World Golf Group (WGG) has unveiled its new global tour plans, offering a total prize fund of £183 million over 18 events.
The Premier Golf League (PGL) will be funded by the banking merchant Raine Group, which has partnered with the WGG for the competition, whilst the league also looks for additional financing.
PGL is scheduled to launch in January 2022 and will last eight months. WGG has also announced that 10 of the 18 tournaments will be held in the United States.
The competition is initially looking for 48 players with an individual champion to be decided after the 17th event and the finale to be staged as a team play-off.
WGG said in a statement: “If you want the world to watch, you have to showcase your best product, week-in-week-out. Golf doesn’t do that currently.
“If you had the chance to start again you wouldn’t create professional golf as it exists today. The League is that chance. We believe we’ll succeed because the League is what fans, sponsors and broadcasters want — and the best players deserve. It will revitalise the sport for this and future generations.”
With the announcement, many referred to earlier comments made by both the European and PGA tours regarding WGG’s plans for a new world-wide competition.
European Tour’s chief executive Keith Pelley, who spoke to UK news agency PA News, stated: “We’re not in the habit of talking about the business of other tours, whether they are true or fictional.
“We focus on the business of our tour and the growth that we’re having right now so I don’t really have much more to say. I think they’ve been trying to move forward for eight years, but I can’t comment on other tours. I wouldn’t comment on the business of the PGA Tour or certainly one that is not real.”
Whereas PGA Tour told the Reuters news agency: “We don’t comment on the business of other tours, real or hypothetical. We’re focused on our business.”
It was reported that the WGG was keen on working with either of the companies rather than breaking away completely, the latter of which now looks likely.
World No.2 Rory McIlroy, who talked at the Farmers Insurance Open on Saturday, explained: “Those guys have been talking to a few of us for six years. It’s a hard one…but I love the PGA Tour, I love the way golf is set up right now. I certainly wouldn’t want to lose what’s been built in the last 40 or 50 years.
“I’m still quite a traditionalist, so to have that much of an upheaval in the game I don’t think is the right step forward. But I think it might be a catalyst for some changes on this tour that can help it grow and move forward and reward the top players the way they should be.”
Insider Insight: The arrival of a new league in golf is initially very exciting news. For the league to succeed it needs to ensure that golfers with name value, such as Rory Mcllroy, join the competition. If it fails to secure a crop of well-known faces then the PGL may find it difficult to garner sponsors or a fanbase. While not confirmed, it seems that WGG will not have a working relationship with the major tours which will be another early stumbling block.
Either way, what the new competition does is push the PGA and European tours. Both organisations are aware of the competition the PGL offers and this will hopefully lead to the top two tours adapting, making the tournaments better for golfers and the viewers.