Out with the old, in with the new on the European Tour.
One year after revamping its Final Series, the circuit announced Tuesday that it is scrapping the concept in order to launch a revamped Rolex Series that will consist of seven events with significant purses in 2017. According to the announcement, the changes are designed to "enhance both the competitive and entertainment experience for members and fans around the world."
While the season-ending Race to Dubai series included four events from 2013-15, that number was trimmed to just three for this season: the Turkish Airlines Open, Nedbank Golf Challenge and DP World Tour Championship.
All three will be a part of the new Rolex Series, and joining them for 2017 will be the BMW PGA Championship, Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open and the Italian Open. All Rolex Series events will offer at least $7 million in prize funds, with the season finale boasting a purse of $8 million.
"The Rolex Series will celebrate the highest quality of golf and the international spirit of the game, values that Rolex and the European Tour strengthen with this announcement," said European Tour CEO Keith Pelley.
The announcement notes that the series will include a "minimum" of seven events that meet the prize threshold, and according to an AP report that number could reach as high as 10 events in 2018.
The Tour also announced an "Access List" for 2017, which will be a money list that excludes earnings from Rolex Series events, majors or WGCs. The top 10 earners from that list will retain full playing privileges for the following season, a move designed to assist players who play well but may not gain entry into some of the season's more elite events.