Follow the hole-by-hole recap from The Match III: Champions for Change at Stone Canyon in Oro Valley, Arizona.
The European Tour has revealed it turned down a “very compelling offer” from Premier Golf League - the breakaway group seeking to set up an F1-type circuit featuring the world’s top players - before signing up to a partnership with the PGA Tour. The historic “strategic alliance” announced on Friday between the former rivals can only be seen as the first steps towards a World Tour, with the US in control. That much became clear when it was announced that the Americans have bought a stake in the European Tour’s media arm and that Jay Monahan, the PGA Tour commissioner, has accepted a place on the European Tour’s executive board. Keith Pelley, the European Tour chief executive, was at pains to clarify that this “is a partnership and not a merger”, pointing out that the PGA Tour has only a minority share in European Tour productions and that Monahan is just one of 15 on the board with voting rights. He also sought to play down the notion that the Tour is ripe for plucking because of economic turmoil exacerbated by the pandemic. “Emphatically, this is not a merger,” he said. “I read one tweet [since the announcement] that said a takeover is inevitable because of the situation that we are in. We are categorically not in financial difficulties, that is simply wrong.” But his hyperbolic language in describing the deal pointed towards the potential for a radical overhaul of the calendar. “This is great for European golf and I believe that we will look back at this day and look back at this partnership as something that has changed global golf,” Pelley said. The move was welcomed by top pros such as Ian Poulter, with Pelley assuring the lesser-ranked players that “every member is at the forefront of our thinking”. It is intriguing that should an official merger ever be out on the table it would require 75 per cent of the Tour members to ratify it. That may take some persuasion, perhaps evidence-based persuasion, and some PGA Tour sanctioned tournaments taking place on European soil over the next few years. “That is a realistic possibility and that has been discussed in great depth,” Pelley said. The details predictably remain sketchy, however, and the power struggle will now start in earnest, with the PGA Tour ultimately eyeing the Ryder Cup billions. The American coffers boast a $7billion media-rights deal that starts in 2022 for nine years and, at the very least, this new relationship offers the European Tour much-needed financial stability. Where the PGL goes from here is unclear, with at least one insider declaring that the private equity group’s proposal “is now dead in the water”. PGL was dealt its first blow in March when the then top-three ranked players in the world, Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka, went public with their rejections, with McIlroy criticising the funding coming the Saudi Arabian regime. Whether Pelley used the PGL bid as leverage in their negotiations with the PGA Tour is a moot point. “Raine Capital presented a very compelling offer to take the European Tour to another level but in a different direction. Ultimately, we felt partnering with the PGA Tour was the best option for our members and for global golf, a decision that was made unanimously by the board of directors.”
Adrian Meronk is in line to make history after opening a three-shot lead after two rounds of the Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa on Friday. Meronk became the first Polish player to lead a European Tour event and is seeking his country's first title on the tour after a second-round 66 moved him to 13 under par and put him in a great position at Leopard Creek. Joachim B. Hansen of Denmark and Richard Bland of England were tied for second on 10 under overall when bad light stopped play with just one player yet to finish his second round.