European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley is shaking things up by kind of keeping them the same.
On Tuesday, the still fairly new head of the tour announced changes to the tour's membership requirements. Instead of asking players to compete in 13 sanctioned or co-sanctioned events to maintain status, Pelley will require players to compete in five European Tour-specific events, including, if applicable, an event in the player's home country.
This change essentially removes the four majors and four World Golf Championships events from counting toward European Tour membership, simplifying things for players on the fringe of the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking who cannot count on getting into the game's eight biggest tournaments each year. Call it the Ian Poulter Rule, making certain that a player is completely clear on their standing throughout the season and not forced into a last-minute dash around the world to maintain membership.
"This, I believe, will allow our players to schedule more efficiently, schedule at the beginning of the year, so they know exactly how they are going to maintain their membership," Pelley said Tuesday in Dubai.
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For European Tour members who have become stalwarts in the top 50, this change means little. They'll still compete in the four majors and, likely, in the four World Golf Championships events.
Why this change matters is the Ryder Cup. Only European Tour members can represent the continent in the biennial event, so creating a streamlined membership requirement, the Tour hopes, will make it easier for players to choose membership on both the European and PGA tours, instead of deciding between them.