Premier Golf League pressing ahead with big money plans

At the British Masters, Jonathan Caldwell goes into the final round six off the lead

Brooks Koepka is believed to be one of the players interested in the breakaway Premier Golf League. Photo: Craig Lassig/EPA

Brooks Koepka is believed to be one of the players interested in the breakaway Premier Golf League. Photo: Craig Lassig/EPA

 

The Premier Golf League remains confident of delivering a breakaway tour, with formal offer letters recently submitted to a batch of top level players. The guaranteed money on offer to those approached is understood to total hundreds of millions of dollars, underlining the strength of the PGL despite the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The PGA Tour and European Tour has been strong in their resistance to the PGL concept, which is backed by the New York-based Raine Group. The PGL model has been compared to Formula One, where the best play the best every week and a team element is included. Rory McIlroy vehemently dismissed the plan in February, with the Northern Irishman stating: “I value that I have autonomy of freedom over everything that I do. But if you go and play this other golf league you’re not going to have that choice.”

It is understood McIlroy is not one of the players approached in this PGL move. Those who have been linked with the breakaway include Phil Mickelson, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Brooks Koepka, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler and Paul Casey. The PGL declined to comment on recent events when approached. Yet whether the PGL can convince elite golfers to offer a commitment against the PGA Tour in particular remains to be seen. As part of a recently agreed broadcasting deal, the PGA Tour agreed to offer commercial incentives to players who provide the greatest value.

Intriguingly, Raine is also understood to have held talks with the European Tour. This at least infers an increased willingness to involve golf’s existing stakeholders in the PGL plan. When asked about such discussions, a European Tour spokesperson said: “For the past couple of years we have been proactively sought out by a number of private equity companies, all of whom recognise the strength and influence of the European Tour across golf’s global ecosystem.

“We have listened to them all but our primary focus remains ensuring that the remainder of our 2020 schedule, and onwards to 2021, is robust and healthy for our membership in these constantly changing times.”

At the British Masters, Ireland’s Jonathan Caldwell will go into the final day six shots off the lead held by Renato Paratore after a round of 67 at Close House.

A blemish-free card with four birdies saw the Bangor native into a tie for eighth at 10 under while Italy’s Paratore made it consecutive rounds of 66 to move to 16 under. A round of 69 leaves Paul Dunne in a tie for 48th at three under. – Guardian

Collated third round scores & totals in the European Tour British Masters hosted by Lee Westwood, Close House GC, Newcastle-upon-Tyne (British unless stated, par 71):

197 Renato Paratore (Ita) 65 66 66

198 Justin Harding (Rsa) 69 63 66

199 Rasmus Hojgaard (Den) 66 67 66

200 Dale Whitnell 68 64 68

201 Sam Horsfield 70 70 61, Ashley Chesters 67 66 68

202 Robert Rock 69 66 67

203 Ben Stow 67 68 68, Adrian Meronk (Pol) 69 68 66, Jonathan Caldwell (Irl) 67 69 67

204 Andy Sullivan 68 69 67, Jack Senior 71 70 63, Oliver Fisher 65 69 70

205 Richard Bland 69 70 66, Jens Fahrbring (Swe) 68 69 68, Matthew Jordan 68 68 69, Ryan Fox (Nzl) 67 67 71, Rikard Karlberg (Swe) 69 70 66, Aaron Rai 69 70 66, Pedro Figueiredo (Por) 66 69 70, Calum Hill 67 66 72, Jordan Smith 69 69 67, Eddie Pepperell 67 69 69

206 Robin Roussel (Fra) 69 68 69, Garrick Porteous 65 71 70, Adrian Otaegui (Spa) 73 65 68, Lars Van Meijel (Ned) 69 68 69

207 Clement Sordet (Fra) 69 67 71, David Horsey 70 69 68, Guido Migliozzi (Ita) 71 70 66, Pablo Larrazabal (Spa) 67 71 69, Scott Jamieson 70 69 68, Graeme Storm 71 69 67, Laurie Canter 70 68 69, Miguel Angel Jimenez (Spa) 68 71 68, Johannes Veerman (USA) 69 71 67, Gregory Havret (Fra) 70 68 69

208 Adri Arnaus (Spa) 70 69 69

209 David Law 64 69 76, Jeff Winther (Den) 70 67 72, Alexander Bjork (Swe) 68 72 69, Niklas Lemke (Swe) 70 70 69, Jack Singh Brar 67 70 72, Benjamin Poke (Den) 70 68 71, Nacho Elvira (Spa) 71 68 70, Alvaro Quiros (Spa) 69 69 71, Scott Vincent (Zim) 69 72 68

210 Richie Ramsay 69 71 70, Toby Tree 69 67 74, Haydn Porteous (Rsa) 71 69 70, Matthieu Pavon (Fra) 71 69 70, Mikko Korhonen (Fin) 71 69 70, Matthew Southgate 70 70 70, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (Spa) 72 69 69, Romain Langasque (Fra) 70 71 69, Jason Scrivener (Aus) 70 69 71, Jake McLeod (Aus) 69 70 71, Andrea Pavan (Ita) 69 72 69, Paul Dunne (Irl) 71 70 69, Antoine Rozner (Fra) 72 67 71, Aaron Cockerill (Can) 66 71 73, Sean Crocker (USA) 67 74 69

211 Dave Coupland 70 71 70, Daan Huizing (Ned) 73 67 71

212 Marcus Kinhult (Swe) 69 69 74, Grant Forrest 70 71 71

213 Lee Westwood 70 71 72

214 Lee Slattery 66 74 74

217 Joachim B. Hansen (Den) 70 70 77

220 Brandon Stone (Rsa) 71 70 79

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