The PGA EuroPro Tour, Europe’s leading developmental tour for professional golfers, is to shut down at the end of this season in response to what the tour’s organiser, Matchroom Sport, described as a ‘changing economic landscape of increasing costs and changing habits of the worldwide audience’.
The tour’s final will be the Matchroom Sport Tour Championship, which is being held at Lough Erne Resort in Northern Ireland between October 19-21.
Speaking in a statement published by the PGA EuroPro Tour, CEO Daniel Godding said: “In a market evolving quickly the PGA EuroPro Tour feels the impact of changing global investment, media and sponsorship. The economic landscape of increasing costs and the changing habits of the worldwide audience means it has become clear that unfortunately there is no longer the support nor demand in the market to operate the PGA EuroPro Tour.”
He added: “With many Major, European and PGA Tour wins and Ryder Cup appearances by previous members, the tour has proudly created a legacy and has driven forward the brand and image of European golf. The purpose of the PGA EuroPro was to develop the very best talent in the sport and prepare them for the next stage in their careers. As a direct affiliate to the European Tour, the PGA EuroPro offered five Challenge Tour cards for the following season and has proudly promoted over 100 golfers to the next level.
“The PGA EuroPro Tour has provided a world class service to its members, offering a stepping stone and media experience like no other tour. But in recent times, the sports environment has evolved drastically, and it has proven difficult for the PGA EuroPro Tour to operate. We are sad to bring an era to its end, but we are delighted that we have helped so many realise their dreams.”
The EuroPro Tour was set up in 2002 following the merger of EuroPro Tour and the PGA MasterCard Tour, with the Professional Golfers’ Association and Barry Hearn’s Matchroom Sport joined forces to create one tour for all aspiring young tour players. The top five finishers on the EuroPro Tour Order of Merit win a tour card for the following season on Europe’s second-tier tour, the Challenge Tour, and a place at the Stage Two of the DP World Tour Qualifying School. Since 2015, Official World Golf Ranking points have been awarded, with four points given to the winner of a tournament.
The tour, which is based mainly in the UK, featured 16 events on its 2022 season schedule, with prize funds of around £50,000 on offer at each event, with the winner’s prize is set at £12,500. The end-of-season Tour Championship has a £102,000 prize fund, with £25,000 going to the winner. Entry fees for each tournament were £295, with field sizes set at around 135.
Through the years, the likes of Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel, Aaron Rai, Tyrrell Hatton, Marcus Armitage and Richard Mansell all took early steps in their journey on the developmental circuit.
Matchroom Sport and PGA EuroPro Tour President Barry Hearn commented: “I have been honoured to have created the PGA EuroPro Tour alongside Sandy Jones of the PGA and to watch the development of so many aspiring and inspiring professional golfers. Sadly, in these changing times for professional golf support for Europes’ biggest development tour has not been sufficient to justify its continuation.”
Hearn added: “I must offer my eternal gratitude to Dan Godding and his team at the PGA EuroPro Tour, the PGA, our broadcasters Sky Sports and the golf clubs and volunteers in both the UK and Europe without whom we would never have created so many opportunities for next generation of professional golfers.”