Players endorse European Tour membership changes


European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley. (Getty Images)

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – A move by the European Tour on Tuesday to ease membership restrictions received positive reviews on Tuesday from some Europeans playing on the PGA Tour.

European officials announced a reduction in the minimum number of events required for membership from 13 (including the majors and World Golf Championships) to five (excluding the majors and World Golf Championships).

“It doesn’t really make any difference for the European Tour if guys play four majors and four world tour events,” Robert Karlsson said on Tuesday at the RSM Classic. “It doesn’t contribute anything to the European Tour.”

Karlsson pointed out that Ernie Els played six non-major/WGC on the European Tour events this season and didn’t meet his 13-event minimum because he didn’t play three World Golf Championships.

“He (Els) contributed more to the tournaments that are important to the European Tour than a bunch of the others guys who actually fulfilled their membership minimums,” Karlsson said. “It will make the European Tour stronger.”

The move, which is designed to help players who are outside the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking maintain membership on both tours, appears to have struck a chord.

“They are trying to make it work. The golfing landscape has changed and you have to change with the times,” said England’s Brian Davis, who last played a full season in Europe in 2004. “It definitely changes my way of thinking, because the last few years I’ve struggled, and then you flip a switch and play well you look to play another tour again.”