In 2016, the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will not be co-sanctioned by the European Tour.
New tour chief executive Keith Pelley made the announcement Tuesday, explaining that money earned by European Tour members in the event would not count toward the Race to Dubai points race or as official money, and that members would not earn Ryder Cup points based on their finish.
The International Federation of PGA Tours, of which the PGA Tour, European Tour and others are a part, typically sanctions the event. No other tour has announced it will not sanction the 2016 edition of the event.
Curiously, this creates a potential conflict for 2015 champion Shane Lowry, who will be aiming to make the 2016 Ryder Cup team, but would not earn anything toward the European Ryder Cup points list by defending his title.
This is a one-off for the European Tour, influenced by the PGA Tour's Olympics-affected 2015-16 schedule. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational was moved up for 2016 to be played June 30 - July 3, the week of the French Open, which will be played for the 100th time in 2016. In an effort to protect the centennial of a long-standing European Tour event, Pelley decided to not sanction the annual event at Firestone Country Club for one year.
“The Alstom Open de France has been a staple on our Tour since 1972 and we are confident that next year’s event, with an increased prize fund alongside the current renovations to the golf course, will properly reflect the importance of the tournament alongside the 100th anniversary celebrations," Pelley said.
The European Tour is expected to again co-sanction the World Golf Championships event starting in 2017.