The European Tour today announced a significant change to its membership regulations for the 2016 season, with players now only required to compete in a minimum of five European Tour sanctioned tournaments outside the Major Championships and World Golf Championships.
Since the 2011 season, all European Tour members have been required to undertake a minimum requirement of 13 European Tour tournaments in order to be included in the final Race to Dubai rankings and be eligible for membership the following season. That figure has previously included participation in the four Major Championships and the four World Golf Championships, all of which feature on The Race to Dubai.
Amending this regulation to simply five European Tour tournaments outside the Majors and the WGCs is designed to help players plan their schedules more effectively, without being subject to the uncertainty of their exempt status into these tournaments.
Keith Pelley, Chief Executive of The European Tour, said: “The change to our minimum tournament requirement for the 2016 season recognises that many of our members are global players who, at the same time, wish to remain loyal to The European Tour. When you are within the top 50 in the world rankings and eligible for the Major Championships and the World Golf Championships, that is attainable. But for those on the cusp, it is harder to plan.
“This change will benefit them and enable them to continue to remain in membership with us in what are extremely exciting times for The European Tour. At the same time it also ensures we have not changed or reduced the commitments required by our members to participate in ‘regular’ European Tour tournaments, as we continue to strive to deliver world class fields across the globe.”
Although the Major Championships and World Golf Championships (of which only three will feature on The 2016 Race to Dubai following the removal of the sanction for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational) will no longer contribute towards the minimum tournament requirement, The Ryder Cup and EurAsia Cup will count as tournaments played, as will the Olympic Games for the first time next year.
Finally, the requirement for European members to play in a minimum of one tournament in their home country (should one take place) has been extended to cover all members from all countries (excluding the USA).
The latter change replaces the previous requirement for non-European members to play one of more events in their home ‘region’, and recognises the importance to The European Tour’s promoters, sponsors and broadcasters of players playing in their national tournaments, at the same time as recognising the global nature of the Tour and its membership alongside the need for equality in the membership regulations.