In the face of increased competition from LIV Golf and the PGA TOUR, the DP World Tour, formerly known as the European Tour, has announced a number of significant changes to the way it rewards its members for the coming season, with an increased bonus pool of $6m being shared among the top eight players on its end of season ranking and the introduction of a new programme that will guarantee minimum earnings. There will also be a new three-week mid-summer break after the Open Championship, which was asked for by the players’ committee and approved by the Tour.
Starting next month, the ‘Earnings Assurance Programme’ will guarantee a minimum income of $150,000 to players who compete in 15 or more events in a season. The money will not come on top of earnings but be paid out to players in categories 1-17 who fail to reach that level. Thus, a player who earns $125,000 in prize money in a season will be awarded a further $25,000 to take their overall income to $150,000. Players who fall outside of these categories (18-20) will be awarded $1,500 if they miss the cut at an event, ensuring that some of the cost of entry fees, travel and accommodation are met if they fail to earn any prize money.
Keith Pelley, the DP World Tour’s Chief Executive, said the record prize fund, increased bonus pool and Earnings Assurance Programme have been made possible by the Tour’s joint venture partnership with the PGA TOUR, which announced a similar guaranteed earnings programme in June.
He said: “For us to be able to offer our members record prize funds and enhanced earning opportunities is massive, particularly when global economies are still feeling the effects of the pandemic and with the new challenge of rising inflation significantly putting pressure on costs in all facets of our business. Our overall prize fund for the 2023 season represents $50 million more than 2021, and also underlines the strength of our partnership with the PGA TOUR, who are working with us to drive revenue and a long-term growth plan.”
He added: “One of the many benefits we have been able to introduce because of this partnership is the new Earnings Assurance Programme, similar to what they already have on the PGA TOUR. I have always believed that it is an incredible accomplishment for any professional golfer to simply gain their playing rights on the DP World Tour and this new initiative recognises and rewards that achievement.
“Although we will never lose the magic of the meritocracy and purity of a performance-based structure, this now offers certainty of income to those players who have made it to the pinnacle of the professional game in Europe. Alongside the John Jacobs Bursary for the top five players who graduate to the DP World Tour from the Challenge Tour, it will provide security and a strong platform for emerging players in particular as they come through the global pathways we have created.”
Included in the DP World Tour’s record prize fund of $144.2million is an increase in the tournament prize funds for the first four Rolex Series events of 2023. The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, Dubai Desert Classic, Genesis Scottish Open and BMW PGA Championship all move from $8m in 2022 to $9m next year, ahead of the $10m season-ending DP World Tour Championship.
The DP World Tour’s global schedule begins with on November 24, 2022, with a double header – the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship in Brisbane and the Joburg Open in South Africa. The former is one of two tournaments in Australia on the DP World Tour schedule as part of the Strategic Alliance with the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia, while the latter is one of six events co-sanctioned with the Sunshine Tour, also as part of a strategic alliance.
Four new tournaments in Asia are also included on the 2023 schedule, with the Singapore Classic (February 9-12) and Thailand Classic (February 16-19) taking place in consecutive weeks, followed by the Tour’s first trip to Japan for the ISPS HANDA – CHAMPIONSHIP (April 20-23) and a return to Korea for the first time since 2013 (April 27-30).
In Europe, there are dates changes for several tournaments, including the Horizon Irish Open moving to September 7-10, while the Italian Open will take place from May 4-7 ahead of venue Marco Simone Golf & Country Club hosting the 2023 Ryder Cup from September 29 – October 1.
There is also a new three-week summer break in the schedule following the 151st Open Championship and Barracuda Championship (both July 20-23) which has been introduced following player feedback. This means that there will be no tournaments played between July 24 and August 17, when the ISPS Handa World Invitational begins at Galgorm Castle in Ireland.
Download the full schedule here