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Home IF YOU DO NOTHING, NOTHING WILL CHANGE!

Keith Pelley is a man on a mission. The European Tour CEO is leaving no stone unturned, as they say. Under his watch, which began last year, he has reduced the minimum number of starts required for European Tour membership from 13 (including the World Golf Championships and majors) to five (excluding the World Golf Championship and majors). Pace of play has been an ongoing issue and he is out to reduce the time it takes the best in the world to apply their craft by 15 minutes per round. Furthermore, fines will be transparent when a violation occurs. He’s even allowed players to wear shorts during practice rounds. “Shorts was a lot bigger story than I thought it would be, but it is something that the players have certainly embraced,” he said recently. “We also extended this to our staff, and I received a number of pictures of some of our staff in shorts this week in Dubai. It's more than just the players that are enamored with it; it's the staff, as well.” Maybe this story has legs!

Pelley has plans for the European over 50 circuit too. Just recently it was announced the Senior Open Championship will go to St. Andrews in 2018. “I think the Senior Tour, it needs a transformation. We are looking at a plethora of different concepts, ideas, working with the current members, have brought in an external group to look at it. It's safe to say that the Senior Tour in 2018 will be significantly different than it is today. It's not where we want to be,” he revealed.

When pressed for more details on this topic, Pelley said, “I think there will be more consistency in terms of the number of tournaments. There will be not many gaps in between the tournaments. We're looking at a condensed schedule in terms of the time of the year with tournaments every other week. But the goal will be to have more tournaments and more sustainable prize purses over time. It won't happen overnight. The 2016 schedule, as I said, will be drastically different than the 2018 schedule.” 

A critical element to Pelley’s early tenure has been talking to the players on the European Tour to understand what they want moving forward. In part its led to some of the changes already. He’s using the same strategy for the Senior circuit. “I've engaged with the players, whether that be Rory, Henrik, Justin, Sergio or any of the other players. I've taken their feedback and I've taken their guidance and tried to develop a plan, and we'll start to execute such a plan in the next year. Similar planning process is now happening with the Senior Tour. We've put out a detailed questionnaire to all the members in November. That came back and I read it thoroughly throughout the holidays, responded to the members last week, and we'll now start developing a more comprehensive business plan and use the next six months to start to plan, and then the following 18 months moving into an execution phase,” he said. “First and foremost, they want more events; consistent events in terms of schedule. Sometimes there's a gap of five or six weeks, which I don't feel is acceptable. And more sustainable prize purses. So that's something that we're going to work on diligently. Like I said, this won't happen overnight, but it is a transformation of a tour.”  I wonder if the gentlemen over 50 will also be allowed to wear short pants too!