How could the DP World Tour improve in 2024?
It's been a difficult few years for the DP World Tour. Covid was a hammer blow to the finances and sponsors, the Tour doing its best to keep things on an even keel ever since
Rightly or wrongly, the Tour made a deal with the PGA Tour and has had to deal with the fallout from that tie up. Many people have questioned the decision to give away ten PGA Tour cards to the ten best players on Tour and that's not an unreasonable point. Why would any business give away ten of their most marketable assets for free after all?
Giving away ten players may actually end up working out well for the DP World Tour. Can anyone say they will value the Tour any less if a Jorge Campillo or Marcel Siem were to get one of the PGA Tour cards on offer? Players leaving creates opportunities for others coming through and for every Campillo there is a Nick Bachem waiting in the wings. Yes, the Tour will miss players like Adrian Meronk, Ryan Fox and the Hojgaard twins but these guys were always going to find a way to the PGA Tour, just as Tommy Fleetwood, Min Woo Lee and Shane Lowry have done before them.
The other factor to consider is that only a finite amount of players can hold PGA Tour cards at any point. Out of the ten players who are 'promoted' this year to the PGA Tour, how many will retain their cards? Lets say 50% do for the purpose of this argument. Where do those 50% who do not retain their PGA Tour card go? In all probability they return to the DP World Tour as better players for their experience. The number of DP World Tour 'graduates' is likely to reach a saturation point at some stage and we start to see more and more players return to Europe.
Anyway, back to the business of looking forward. We've identified six changes we think the Tour could make in 2024 which would be improve the overall experience for fans and improve the quality of the Tour:
Embrace LIV players
With a number of LIV players no longer eligible for Majors, could the DP World Tour position itself as the place where the world's best come together to play? LIV detractors might at this point suggest that the world's best don't play on the LIV Tour but let's be clear, guys like Bryson DeChambeau, Talor Gooch, Cam Smith and Brooks Koepka are amongst the best in the world, whatever the world rankings suggest.
If the DP World Tour could find a way to get these top LIV guys into the Rolex events in 2024 the tournaments would be all the better for it. Who could forget the Dubai Desert Classic earlier this year where Rory McIlroy went up against Patrick Reed in a classic case of hero vs villain? And where else will we see Rory McIlroy go up against a Joaquin Niemann or Mito Pereira if not on the DP World Tour?
Create a fast track process for the best young players
We've seen the PGA Tour create the PGA Tour University as a means to get the best young talent on to the PGA Tour as quickly as possible but the DP World Tour haven't followed suit with any similar type of initiative. The best young talent playing college golf in the USA will undoubtedly want to stay in the USA with their support network and coaches etc. However, there are a number of European, South African and Asian youngsters who won't follow the American collegiate route. Should the DP World Tour be doing more to get these youngsters onto the Tour?
Change the Race To Dubai scoring
Rory McIlroy has won the Race to Dubai before a ball has even been struck this week and that's not the only thing wrong with the Race to Dubai ranking methodology. Pablo Larrazabal has won twice on Tour this year and finds himself languishing in 30th place in the rankings. The Tour has devalued the lesser events to such an extent that multiple wins aren't even enough to see you finish inside the top 20 on Tour. Larrazabal could have won four of these lower purse events and still not have cracked the top four in the rankings! By all means have high prize purses for the best events but the Tour could use a different scoring system for the purposes of the Race to Dubai. How can the Tour expect any player to stay on the DP World Tour if so many events count for so little?
More matchplay events
As of 2024, there will be no matchplay events on the DP World Tour or PGA Tour. The WGC Matchplay event at Austin Country Club has been dropped from the 2024 schedule, leaving a very obvious opportunity for the DP World Tour. Pick a good course, make sure you aren't up against a designated event on the PGA Tour and get the LIV guys involved. Who wouldn't want to watch that? Fans are desperate for more head to head golf so why persist with 72 hole strokeplay tournaments every week.
With very few exceptions, we no longer see any coverage of the morning action on a Thursday and Friday. If television partners don't have any interest in showing full day coverage the Tour should be actively seeking ways to provide coverage online. Fans would be more than happy with limited coverage on YouTube or suchlike if it meant they were at least able to watch a few of the Tour's biggest names and see early conditions. All the necessary equipment has been set up for the afternoon television coverage so cost
Be more considerate
Let's start by saying the DP World Tour social media team are brilliant. The content they create and upload is fantastic. Whether it is Andy Sullivan doing a one club challenge, hole in one attempts or shorts about Angry Golfers, the Tour are significantly punching above their weight. However, this is all scheduled content that is made well in advance. What the DP World Tour do not do well is communicate delays in play or what will happen if play is cancelled for the day. The communication updates for the weather affected Alfred Dunhill Links were very poorly handled on social media and that's not an uncommon occurrence. The Scottish Open was another tournament where fans suffered from a lack of information and consideration.
The DP World Tour have made many improvements ahead of 2024. A more cohesive schedule with a couple of big events in the Middle East to finish are a definite step in the right direction. However, it still feels like the Tour could do more by improving the fan experience and overall Tour set up. Hopefully someone at the DP World Tour reads this!
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