European Tour's chief executive: BMW PGA purse should increase dramatically

European Tour’s chief executive: BMW PGA purse should increase dramatically

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European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley minced no words on Tuesday ahead of his tour's season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai: The finale is not only the capstone on the schedule but it is the tour's "flagship" event.

It's a change in thinking and branding, which has long held that the BMW PGA Championship, played each May at Wentworth Club in England, holds that "flagship" distinction. After all, the European Tour is headquartered there.


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But Pelley doesn't see it that way, especially when the BMW PGA Championship purse pales in comparison to the last stop on the Race to Dubai.

"I'm telling you our 'flagship' event right here is the DP World Championship which is 8 million dollars plus a bonus prize," he said. "I'm not sure how you couldn't say this wouldn't be our 'flagship' event."

"A lot of people talk about Wentworth as being a 'flagship' event," he added. "Wentworth is 5.1 million Euros. The other event in the U.S. that week (typically the Wells Fargo Championship) is 6.1. That's unacceptable. Wentworth needs to be $8-10 million."

That said, Pelley believes improvements expected to be made to Wentworth's West Course, which hosts the tournament, by a new owner will go a long way in restoring the BMW PGA's status on the schedule.

"We are continuing onto Wentworth until at least 2018," he said, "and expect if, in fact, the West Course becomes exactly what they believe it, and that we can increase the prize purse, then perhaps it can be a 'flagship' event going forward."

While it may seem like just an adjective to many, the distinction actually matters in the Official World Golf Ranking. Since the BMW PGA Championship is deemed the European Tour's flagship event, it offers a minimum of 64 world-ranking points to the winner. However, if that's no longer the case, the Wentworth event, which often has players ranked worse than 1,000th in the world in the field, would not get that protection.

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