In what was hailed as a “landmark day” for golf, European Tour chief Keith Pelley and PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan delivered a strong message to Norman following his recent appointment as CEO of LIV Golf Investments.
Next year’s DP World Tour will boast a record total prize fund of more than $200 million, with a new minimum prize fund of $2m for all tournaments solely sanctioned by the Wentworth-based circuit.
In 2020, when the circuit was badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, the prize pot excluding majors and WGCs was $70m before rising to $104m this year, but the comparable figure next season will be over $140m.
“Significant” investment has also been promised for the Challenge Tour, with Pelley describing the announcement in Dubai, where DP World, one of the world’s biggest logistics companies, is based, as “incredibly important”.
In a video message, four-time major champion Rory McIlroy said the deal was “great news for global golf” while his 2014 Ryder Cup team-mate, Stephen Gallacher, hailed it as an “unbelievable opportunity”.
Next year marks the 50th anniversary of the European Tour and, though the decision to re-name the circuit had “not been taken lightly”, according to chairman David Williams, Pelley believes it better reflects the circuit’s global nature.
“In many ways, it's a misnomer,” he said of the current title. “In 2022, 23 of our 47 events will be staged in Europe and 24 in the rest of the world. We are definitely a world tour.
“We will always remember our heritage and those who have gone before us, but we also rejoice in our global footprint."
The first steps in a new era for the circuit will be in South Africa before Christmas, with Scotland set to stage four DP World Tour events in its first season.
The Genesis Scottish Open, which is being co-sanctioned with the PGA Tour for the first time, takes place at The Renaissance Club on 7-10 July - the week before the 150th Open at St Andrews.
The Hero Open, one of the regular events that will get a hike in prize-money, is returning to Fairmont St Andrews for the second year running on 28-31 July before the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship takes place at St Andrews and Carnoustie on 29 September-2 October.
New events will be held next year in the UAE, Belgium, Japan and South Africa, with the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai boasting the richest prize fund in the tour’s history of $10m.
“It really is an easy day to smile,” said Pelley. ”The 2022 DP World Tour will feature the richest total prize fund in our tour's history. We believe that is an incredible accomplishment coming out of the pandemic, and it is something we are very proud of.”
Through his Saudi-funded company, Norman is set to pump $200m into the Asian Tour over the next 10 years. No direct reference to him was made by either Pelley or Monahan, but, nonetheless, the message was loud and clear.
“Our two tours are stronger than at any time in our respective histories, and in part through our strategic alliance, we are both positioned to grow faster in the next ten years than we have at any point in our existence,” said Monahan, who was speaking from Houston.
“The DP World European Tour partnership is a prime example of that growth, and of a tighter-knit ecosystem with the world of professional golf.”