Out of bounds: European Tour forced into website U-turn

‘If it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ - Tour’s new platform reeled back after failing to deliver

 European Tour CEO Keith Pelley has apologised after a botched upgrade to the tour’s website. Photograph: Richard Heathcote/Getty

European Tour CEO Keith Pelley has apologised after a botched upgrade to the tour’s website. Photograph: Richard Heathcote/Getty

 

It’s part of an age old human condition which strives for improvement, often obsessively in the case of golf. How many times have we seen players dismantle their swings in the quest for greater distance only to lose their tour cards and never make it back to the big stage after the changes either don’t bed in or simply don’t work?

In the case of the PGA European Tour, there was a different reason for making change. We’re talking technology here. It was in the belief that, in this age of rapid access and thirst for information, the old website wasn’t up to the task and it was with such a background that a new website was launched - ironically enough in the week of the tour’s flagship tournament, the BMW PGA at Wentworth - back in May.

From the get-go, though, it was apparent that the old adage - “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” - applied; or should have applied.

Although the new version sought to be all things to all men with an increased focus on social media and videos, it failed utterly in its bid to be the cool go-to site. In those opening days the site was often in a frozen state and navigating a way through it was akin to someone attempting to carry a soldier’s backpack up Mount Everest. In fact, that mountainous climb might have been easier.

Through the summer months, the PGA European Tour soldiered on, trying to fix it; trying to get it to the capture our hearts and minds. Unfortunately, despite all the resources and money ploughed into the site, the European Tour website didn’t deliver . . . . and so it was in recent days that the European Tour chief executive effectively said enough was enough, put his hands up and called a halt to it all.

What should have been a showpiece of the European Tour’s drive and ambition floundered, to the extent now that it is back to the old site. Not as slick in appearance, but very much one which had delivered on so many fronts through the years - particularly with ease of access to statistical and historical data of tournaments and players - and which proved to be far more efficient and effective than the new interloper.

In fairness to Keith Pelley, the CEO, he was the one who called it as it was and fronted up in actually apologising for the failure to deliver on the new website.

Pelley talked of his disappointment with the “functionality” of the new platforms and explained how - after monitoring the website and the app - it was his belief that technical issues remained too much of a problem and too frustrating for users to continue with it.

“I apologise for the disruption this has caused (to) enjoyment of the European Tour through our digital platforms and rest assured we will do things differently in the next phase of our development,” said Pelley.

Which would indicate that a fresh attempt (some time in the future) will be made to get it right; until then, and until they’re 100 percent sure of its success, it is back to the old website design which wasn’t bad at all in the first place.

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