The PGA Tour is reportedly making a hostile bid to take over the European Tour.
Irish Open winner Paul Casey appears to be the source for both reports, quoted in each piece talking about discontent among European Tour rank-and-file that they've not had an event on the schedule for three consecutive weeks.
“There are so many good things about the European Tour and it can it be such an unbelievable product given the places we go to, and the players we have,” Casey said. “But we are so far from maximizing what we have and we need to freshen things up. It needs some new energy."
Meanwhile, the PGA Tour has offered four events: the RBC Canadian Open, the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Sanderson Farms Championship and the PGA Championship. Both events at Firestone and Oak Hill are co-sanctioned with the European Tour, but an opposite-field event was not played in continental Europe.
The European Tour has repeatedly fallen victim to the fallout from the global financial crisis.
Just a year after the European Tour announced its lucrative Race to Dubai format in 2008, bonus pool and season-ending event, Dubai nearly fell into sovereign default because of its gambles on real estate in an effort to develop an oil-independent economy. Fellow emirate Abu Dhabi bailed out its neighbor, but the result was a scaled-back Race to Dubai bonus pool in 2009, played since for 75 percent of its original value. In 2012, the prize pool was cut further, in half.
The austerity movement that has swept through crisis-touched European countries has crushed a number of countries, but worst for the European Tour is Spain. Just two years ago, Spain was home to seven European Tour events. Now? One.
The purses of European Tour events pale in comparison to those offered on the PGA Tour, best shown by the difference between players on the respective tours' money lists. Rank-and-file PGA Tour players tend to earn about four times what their European Tour counterparts pull in through a season.
Meanwhile, the PGA Tour has not only managed to survive the Great Recession, but two years ago inked a nine-year extension of its television contract through 2021.
The PGA Tour has also been growing its umbrella, purchasing and repackaging a pair of developmental tours. It began with the formation of PGA Tour Latinoamerica -- essentially buying the Tour de las Americas -- in 2011 and then the purchase of the Canadian Tour in 2012, renaming it PGA Tour Canada. Both are now feeder tours to the Web.com Tour.
The European Tour would be anything but that, existing on its own in some fashion, but it would be quite a coup for the PGA Tour to control not only the world's two best tours, but also have half ownership stake in the Ryder Cup.