Player ban will scupper Premier Golf League, says Stephen Gallacher

Stephen Gallacher, one of the most experienced campaigners on the European Tour, believes a proposed Premier Golf League will struggle to get off the ground.

Scotlands Stephen Gallacher competing in the European Tour Omega Dubai Desert Classic at Emirates Golf Club. Picture: Ross Kinnaird/Getty

And the former Ryder Cup player says that is due to players facing a potential ban for life if they walk away from the two main traditional tours.

The breakaway circuit involving 48 elite players competing in 18 events worldwide for a whopping $240 million prize fund has been floated by British-based World Golf Group, with a view to it being launched in two years’ time.

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In response to the plan, 
European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley and PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan sent emails to their respective members last week to effectively warn them of the consequences of signing up for the proposed new circuit.

“I don’t think it will happen,” said Gallacher, a four-time winner on the European Tour.

“I don’t think our tour or the PGA Tour will allow it to happen, especially with the stance they have taken by saying a player will be barred for life if they did play on it if it were to happen. It wasn’t in my email from the European Tour, but I hear that’s what the message was from the PGA Tour.

“I don’t see why we wouldn’t take that stance, either.

“I think it would be stupid for anyone to try to compete against the two established tours. It just seems a bit unnecessary to me.

“We’ve got two good tours, we’ve got WGCs [World Golf Championship events] and guys are already getting to play on both tours. I don’t see why there is any problem with that.”

Greg Norman, who failed in a bid to create a world tour when he was the top-ranked player in the game 25 years, believes this plan has “more legs”. Speaking at the weekend, the Australian also said he doesn’t feel that both Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy would necessarily have to be involved for it to be a success.

Gallacher disagrees, adding: “It has to have the top 40-odd guys. If you don’t get them, it just doesn’t work. It would be like Formula 3000 wanting to get to Formula One. It’s the Formula One guys they are going for here. If Lewis Hamilton and these guys don’t want in, then it can’t work,

“When Greg Norman came up with the same plan, you had Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo and all those guys knocking it back and the top guys don’t seem to be fancying it this time around, either.”