Stephen Gallacher’s 600th European Tour appearance will technically be his last, but the former Ryder Cup player could hardly be happier.
Gallacher was in the audience for Tuesday’s announcement that the European Tour will become the DP World Tour from the start of the 2022 season, with total prize money exceeding 200million US dollars (£147million) for the first time.
The season-ending DP World Tour Championship will have a prize fund of 10m US dollars (£7.35m) – the first regular European Tour event with an eight-figure purse – while all tournaments solely sanctioned by the DP World Tour will have a minimum prize fund of 2m US dollars (£1.47m).
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) November 9, 2021
“It’s a great week for the Tour,” Gallacher said ahead of his 600th start in this week’s AVIV Dubai Championship.
“To come through a pandemic and to get such a positive boost with DP World investing in the DP World Tour, it’s going to help the Challenge Tour, grassroots golf globally.
“To have (PGA Tour commissioner) Jay Monahan backing us up in the climate we’re in now, I think we are in a fantastic position in golf, especially the youngsters coming through.
“We have 47 tournaments, 23 in Europe, 24 worldwide, so it just shows you how we really are a worldwide tour. I thought it was positive news for golf in a global way.
It's been an absolute honour & pleasure to have worked together for a sizable chunk of that
It's been a blast 👊🏽⛳🏴 pic.twitter.com/Wy3FA4xeUQ
— Bounce (@bouncespmgt) November 10, 2021
“When I saw the schedule I was buzzing to go to Japan. My daughter’s always wanted to go so me, my wife and daughter are all going to go out next year. That’s something I’ve never had the opportunity to do in my 600 tournaments.
“I’ve been in Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, China – it’s been a world tour for a long time really, but under the European Tour banner. Obviously you can’t play in Britain in the early part of the season, so you’ve got to chase the sun and I think the new logo works. I think DP World Tour has a great ring to it.
“It used to be the Volvo Tour when I first came out here, so it’s not as if it’s something new. It happens a lot in different sports. I think the brand for what we do really suits and makes sense.”
The new deal will inevitably be seen as part of a response to the threat posed by potential rival circuits, with former world number one Greg Norman fronting a series of Saudi-backed tournaments on the Asian Tour and the Premier Golf League hoping to become involved with the PGA Tour.
The European Tour and PGA Tour signed a strategic alliance last year and three tournaments will be co-sanctioned by the organisations in 2022, with Gallacher not ruling out more co-operation in the future.
“I think to have the strategic alliance with the PGA Tour and now have the backing of DP World and all our other main sponsors – Rolex, BMW and all the other contributors – I think we are in a really strong place at the moment,” the 47-year-old added.
“And to hear Jay Monahan’s words yesterday really cemented the fact how much we are working together and why can’t we all work together at some stage.
“Just now there’s a wee bit of politics involved, but we shouldn’t detract from the positive news we had. It’s been great news for us and whatever happens outwith we can’t do anything about it anyway and I’m not really focusing on that.”
Instead Gallacher – who cannot qualify for next week’s season-ending DP World Tour Championship – is focusing on claiming a fifth Tour victory, reaching 700 appearances and also potentially competing on the Seniors Tour.
“I just had lunch with Padraig (Harrington) actually and he was telling me all about it. He was saying that you play in a buggy, it’s three rounds and it’s brilliant,” Gallacher added with a smile.