Is there a future where the PGA Tour combines with the European Tour to create a single, global professional golf tour?
Outgoing European Tour chief executive George O'Grady seemingly hinted so in an interview during the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open. O'Grady segued into the topic when asked by Golf Channel's Rich Lerner about the professional golf frontier that is China, where both tours compete for prominence.
"Well, I think in a way, at the top level, there’s a coming together between the PGA Tour and ourselves," O'Grady said. "[PGA Tour] Commissioner [Tim] Finchem, who I respect a great deal, we’ve talked about this on many occasions on how we work together and whether really, you could almost say that there could be one brand for golf at the top level for tournament golf, and one for the teaching professional, the PGA. If we keep competing with each other all the time, it’s going to get harder and so our scheduling and dates have got to come together.”
The European Tour sanctions four events in China, including the co-sanctioned WGC-HSBC Champions. Two Chinese events are part of its four-event, season-ending Finals Series. There are two more China-based events on its Challenge Tour, the equivalent of the Web.com Tour.
For its part, in 2014, the PGA Tour launched PGA Tour China, which is a feeder tour to the Web.com Tour, as part of an increased global umbrella architected to eventually bring more global talent to the PGA Tour through its owned properties.
So, as the European Tour and the PGA Tour figure out how to play nice in the Chinese sandbox, will that mean more cooperation elsewhere in the world?
O'Grady said, "I think the PGA Tour knows what the rest of the world is as you saw in China and the talking will continue.”