When the 2020 European Tour schedule resumes in late July with a six-week run in the United Kingdom, the tour plans on doing some things differently.
One significant change for the players will be that some of them will be asked to wear wireless microphones while in competition, with the tour then able to connect with players for in-round interviews or presenting audio of the player talking as they go through their round.
Speaking to the BBC, European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley said that this won’t just be asking a player here and there to wear a microphone. He’s thinking players in featured groups on telecasts will all wear the mics, and he expects the players, who now won’t face the possibility of losing their European Tour status at the end of 2020, to agree to the experiment.
“Once you’ve actually had a wireless mic on in competition and it hasn’t affected you in any such way – technology has come so far that it is really, really small and won’t disturb your swing – then it just becomes commonplace and a way of life,” Pelley said.
The first event back is the Betfred British Masters on July 22, with the European Tour creating five subsequent events played at resorts in England and Wales with on-site lodging for players. The purses will be 1 million Euro each.
“For this year the prize funds have been reduced, they are directly attributed to revenue,” Pelley said to the BBC.
Perhaps new innovations to coverage will improve the European Tour’s global TV audience, which, in combination with a global economic recovery and advances in COVID-19 treatment, could help bring purses back closer to where the tour was pre-pandemic.