Justin Rose can see the appeal of the Premier Golf League as murmurs spread over Formula One style event for world’s top 48 players
- Justin Rose says growing number of players are discussing rumoured shake-up
- Premier Golf League would comprise of 18 tournaments alongside team event
- The format would draw together all of golf’s top players for every event
On Friday afternoon, a rumour spread like wildfire at the Genesis Invitational that Phil Mickelson was about to be announced as the first face of the proposed Premier Golf League.
As it turned out, it proved just that: a rumour. But there is no getting away from the fact that, in two short weeks, the model outlined that would revolutionise the professional game by 2022 has got everyone chattering.
‘It’s increasingly becoming talked about in the locker room,’ Justin Rose told Sportsmail.
Justin Rose says players have been discussing rumoured Premier Golf League tournament
Phil Mickleson was reportedly set to be unveiled as the face of a new-look F1 style event
The Premier Golf League would bring together the game’s top 48 players for every tournament
‘Two weeks ago, I don’t think anyone knew too much about it apart from a few top players who had been approached. Now a few lids are coming off, which is a good thing, because it needs to come to a head.
‘There are a lot of incentives for the guys to be interested.’
A rather mysterious organisation known as the World Golf Group are looking to take advantage of the shambolic global golf schedule, proposing 18 events of 54 holes around the planet featuring the top 48 players.
Twelve of the players would be franchise holders and team owners, with a model somewhat on F1 lines. Alongside 18 conventional strokeplay tournaments, with a $10million (£7.7m) prize fund at each pit-stop, there would be a team event running concurrently, with 12 four-man teams and another big pot awarded to the winning team at the end of the year.
Predictably, the all-powerful PGA Tour have told the players in no uncertain terms that they would have to choose between the Premier Golf League and the considerable riches on offer at the moment, as have the European Tour. The players would still be able to compete in the four majors, as they are all run by different organisations.
Players would be able to compete in the four majors as they’re run by different organisations
Interestingly, not a single player has publicly dismissed the revolution out of hand, despite the obvious difficulties and dilemmas. As ever, Rose proved an articulate voice on the pros and cons.
‘What it boils down to is a redistribution of the economics in golf, the media rights and all that, in favour of the most marketable players,’ he said.
‘Format-wise, it would draw all the top players together each time and we’d all like that.
‘But, as we all know, it’s not that simple. Hundreds of questions need answering and right now they’re not being answered very quickly.’
What is his gut instinct? ‘I think a few players are keen but you need a critical mass,’ he replied. ‘I’m hedging my bets right now, for sure. I’ve got my manager (Mark Steinberg, who also looks after Tiger Woods) doing all the listening for me.
‘I don’t see half the players going and half staying. It would have to be an all or nothing situation. But how do you get to that point and is that point even the right one? Would it be a better offering for fans, players, for the game itself?
Rose says he wants firmer details before giving a more definite opinion on proposed event
‘The proposed schedule is certainly attractive for me. Right now I play on the European Tour at the end of the year, and I come back the following year to play the PGA Tour and I’m always playing catch-up on the guys who stayed in America.
‘So it would suit a lot of the international players but then you’ve got the loyalty question to the two established tours who have been so good to so many of us.
‘There’s an awful lot to weigh up. Conceptually, I can see the value. In reality, there is way too much that needs to be answered before I even have an opinion.’
Would he like to be a franchise holder and team owner?
‘If you were going to join, you’d want to be all in, but again there are loads of questions on that,’ he said.
‘It would clearly be interesting, deciding on your team and that sort of thing.’
One event that certainly does not deserve to be caught in the crossfire is the impeccably run Genesis event.
After four glorious days at majestic Riviera, the event was set for a gripping conclusion on Sunday night with Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott and Matt Kuchar tied for the lead going into the final round.
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