Japan plans alliance with US Tour and Europe

The PGA Tour and European Tour have a joint venture for the next 13 years. Now it looks like they want the Japan Golf Tour to join them.

This is another example that while Saudi-funded LIV Golf has caused a stir in the golf world, there are ripple effects.

As part of their expanded alliance, the PGA and European Tours announced in June, the top 10 players on the DP World Tour points list in Europe who are not already PGA Tour members will be able to join.

The Japan Golf Tour (JGTO) could be next in line.

In a note to his players late last week, chairman Isao Aoki said he was leaning towards such a relationship.

“It is not possible to enjoy both the benefits of LIV and PGA at this time,” Aoki wrote.

This has already been clarified.

The PGA Tour informed the JGTO last month that players who participate in LIV Golf Invitational events would not be eligible for the Zozo Championship from October 13-16 outside of Tokyo, nor for the Korn Ferry Tour qualifying tournaments.

The three Japanese players who played in the first three LIV Golf events would not have been eligible for the Zozo Championship due to their position on the money list. The other is Yuki Inamori, who is at #5. He has played two LIV events.

The memo says LIV Golf Commissioner Greg Norman asked the JGTO to protest the PGA Tour’s decision regarding the Zozo Championship.

“We told Mr. Norman that we would not find it appropriate to reopen trading at this stage,” Aoki wrote.

In the meantime, Aoki said the PGA and European tours had contacted Japanese officials “outlining their desire to enter into a visible alliance with JGTO”.

“We believe a critical factor in this discussion would be to try to establish a path to DPWT (Europe), Korn Ferry and PGA (Tour), based on the results of the Japan tour,” he said. he declares.

All roads lead to America, and it has been that way for nearly 25 years.

European Tour loyalists hate the idea of ​​being considered a “feeder tour” for the PGA Tour, but the prize money, ease of travel, weather, corporate support and TV exposure make it attractive to play and live on the other side of the pond.

Aoki said aligning with LIV means the chances of Japanese tour members competing in PGA Tour-sanctioned events would be “slim”. And if there is an alliance with the PGA Tour and Europe, “there will definitely be a restriction” on LIV Golf events.

So when Rory McIlroy said last week in Scotland that he didn’t want a “fractured game”, the question is how deep are the injuries.

“I don’t think we can let it go for too long,” McIlroy said. “So I’m all for everyone sitting around the table trying to figure something out.”

That will have to wait, if it ever happens.

Norman made it clear that LIV Golf isn’t going anywhere, and he told the Aussie newspaper that “we have no interest in sitting down with them, to be honest, because our product works.”

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan is also not interested.

“I think it’s impractical when you look at the fact that some players sued the PGA Tour, their employer sued the PGA Tour,” Monahan told ESPN. “It’s not in the cards. It wasn’t in the cards and it’s not in the cards.

LIV Golf resumes its eight-tournament schedule this week in Bangkok, followed by an event in Saudi Arabia next week.

Japan had at least three players competing in LIV events until its biggest attraction, former Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama, made it clear he wasn’t interested in going. After two LIV events without Japanese players, Hideto Tanihara is back on the pitch for Bangkok.

Because a new PGA Tour season has begun, Tanihara would not be eligible for a bye for the Sony Open in Honolulu in January.

LIV Golf has its own alliance.

Even before Norman signed marquee players with hefty signing fees, LIV Golf pumped $200 million – a figure that rose to $300 million – into the Asian Tour. It is hosting six “International Series” events this year with a $1.5 million purse, and 10 such events are planned for next year.

Aoki recommends anyone interested in LIV Golf instead of the PGA Tour to consider the Asian Tour.

“Now that the Asian Tour has entered into a friendly relationship with LIV, we believe JGTO needs to create a clear path ‘to the PGA Tour and European Tour’ so that professional golfers in Japan and Asia have a good range of opportunities.”

So much remains unstable with no clear path except that it seems to be bumpy.

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