Before Tiger Woods burst onto the scene in the late 1990s, the European Tour—now the DP World Tour for sponsorship reasons—competed head-to-head against the PGA Tour.
Both circuits had amazing talent, with the likes of Seve Ballesteros, Sam Torrance, Ian Woosnam, Sir Nick Faldo, Bernhard Langer, and Colin Montgomerie leading the European charge.
But times have changed.
The DP World Tour is now a feeder tour to the PGA Tour, and Monday’s announcement boldens that claim.
Beginning with the 2024 season, full membership on the DP World Tour is available to players who finish in positions 126th to 200th in the 2023 FedEx Cup Fall points list.
Furthermore, affiliate membership of the DP World Tour is available to any other PGA Tour player who participates in any Race to Dubai tournament during the 2024 season.
The Race to Dubai is the DP World Tour’s equivalent of the FedEx Cup.
Affiliate members and non-members will now appear on a new ‘Non-Member Race to Dubai Points List’ following the first tournament where they earn points.
Should affiliate members play more than four qualifying events on the DP World Tour, they will earn a spot in the DP World Tour playoffs.
Meanwhile, those who finish the FedEx Cup fall ranked 125th and above will obtain PGA Tour cards for the 2024 season.
“When we announced our Strategic Alliance with the PGA Tour in November 2021, one of the prime objectives was to give as many opportunities as possible to members of both Tours, and this is another perfect example of how this is working,” said David Howell, the Chairman of the DP World Tour’s Tournament Committee.
Sure, more opportunities will exist for more players, but the DP World Tour will house those who could not qualify for the PGA Tour.
Those PGA Tour players ranked between 126th and 200th in the FedEx Cup fall standings who take up full membership will play from a newly created category within the 2024 DP World Tour exemption category list.
Only five players from this category can play in a DP World Tour event in any given week—meaning only five PGA Tour players can enter a DP World Tour field.
That will help protect current players on the DP World Tour, but it does not protect the European circuit’s top talent.
The top 10 players on the DP World Tour’s 2023 Race to Dubai rankings—not otherwise exempt—will earn PGA Tour cards for the 2024 season.
So, the best of the DP World Tour will head to the PGA Tour, meaning it will be deprived of its top talent.
Here are the top 10 players in the rankings—not otherwise exempt—following Adrian Meronk’s win at the Andalucia Masters:
- Adrian Meronk (Poland)
- Ryan Fox (New Zealand)
- Victor Perez (France)
- Min Woo Lee (Australia)
- Alexander Björk (Sweden)
- Robert MacIntyre (Scotland)
- Ryo Hisatsune (Japan)
- Thorbjørn Olesen (Denmark)
- Joost Luiten (Netherlands)
- Marcel Siem (Germany)
What is great about this list is that 10 different countries are represented. Yet, these players will be plucked from the DP World Tour.
Ballesteros is likely rolling over in his grave, but the DP World Tour faced no other options. They have been strapped for cash—only turning a profit on years in which Europe hosts the Ryder Cup. Hence, the strategic alliance that was announced a couple of years ago.
Of course, there are ongoing negotiations between the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, and the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund on the future of professional golf.
Nobody knows what the sport will look like in 2025, but in 2024, the writing on the wall is clear that the DP World Tour is the minor league affiliate of the PGA Tour.