European tour mandatory events increased to 12
The European Tour tournament committee decided on Tuesday to increase
the number of mandatory events players need to play on the European tour
from 11 to 12.
The extra event, to be played on European soil, is not aimed to deter
the influx of U.S. based players but introduced due to the size of the
tour, committee chairman Thomas Bjorn said.
World number two Phil Mickelson and number three Vijay Singh have
said they are considering joining next season's tour which culminates
with the multi-million dollar Race to Dubai finale.
"We think that with the number of tournaments on our schedule it was
time to put it up by one," Bjorn told reporters.
"It is not a big ask to play 12 events, especially when a lot of the
guys in question play four majors and three world golf championships."
The Dane added that upping the tour membership criterion to 13 or 14
events could still happen in the future.
"Twelve was always the preferred number but we will keep it under
review," Bjorn said.
The decision may scupper Mickelson and Singh's plans with
participation in five European evens now required in addition to the
four majors and three World Golf Championship (WGC) events to ensure a
shot at the Dubai $1.6 million first prize.
Triple major champion Padraig Harrington was in favour of making it
easier for leading players to play next year, rather than harder.
"I think it has been shown over the years that the better the
standard the better the field and if we are attracting the likes of
Vijay and Phil it's basically a bigger pot for everybody," the Irishman
said. "We've never had that inflow from the States and it would be nice
to get them into the events."
Harrington added that rather than resentment by some players who
would feel U.S. Tour players might be 'cherry picking' they should
appreciate the other side of the coin.
"It will increase sponsorships and there will be more to trickle down
to those guys who think they are losing out."