Golf’s Global Plan Faces ‘Huge Financial And Logistical Challenges’ – Paul McGinley

The former DP World Tour board member has questioned the practicality of the global tour idea

Paul McGinley during the 2022 Celebrity Series Pro-Am prior to the Staysure PGA Seniors Championship
Paul McGinley has questioned how a global tour could get off the ground
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The idea of a world golf tour has been gaining traction, with one of the game’s most influential players, Rory McIlroy, pitching the idea several times in recent weeks. Before the Dubai Desert Classic, he reiterated his global tour hopes and suggested India as a one of the possible destinations

However, former DP World Tour board member Paul McGinley sees roadblocks in getting the idea off the ground.

In his latest column for Sky Sports, the 2014 Team Europe Ryder Cup captain identified “huge financial and logistical challenges” in making a success of the proposal.

First, he questioned how a global tour could appeal to American TV audiences. He explained: “While there is exciting talk of the game becoming more global and less US-centric with top-quality events being brought to Europe, South Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Australia, there are huge financial and logistical challenges.

“The time differences, for example, dictate that live golf can often not be available to the huge and financially lucrative TV audiences in America.”

That brought him onto the problem of how to make the numbers add up. He continued: “At the present time, American TV stations do pay substantial sums for live coverage but TV companies in the rest of the world do not seem to have an appetite to do similar for what they see to be a relatively small sport.

“An alternative, of course, could be a Netflix model and the tours going direct to consumer. Again, however, the challenges and set up costs are enormous.

“Sponsors will want big viewing figures to justify the huge financial outlay they are called upon to make. Golf does not produce the big viewing figures of soccer, Formula 1 or the NFL.”

With talks between the PGA Tour and Saudi Public Investment Fund, led by Yasir Al-Rumayyan, yet to conclude, the direction of the game remains shrouded in mystery. News on those discussions is due in April, and McGinley suggested that, at least to begin with, a less ambitious proposal could be the aim.

Yasir Al-Rumayyan pictured in 2023

The Saudi Public Investment Fund, led by Yasir Al-Rumayyan, is holding to talks with the PGA Tour

(Image credit: Getty Images)

He wrote: “A deal could be as simple as this: at the moment from April to July, we have one premier event a month. A starting point could be to identify another event a month where players from both tours could qualify to play.”

While McGinley has offered a reality check on talk of a global tour, the prospect is capturing the imagination, and not just with McIlroy.

Speaking to the media ahead of his maiden Dubai Desert Classic appearance, Open champion Brian Harman explained: “I think there's some golf-starved areas of the world, and I was just thinking about how cool it is, this game, how we can use it as like an avenue to go see places that you wouldn't otherwise get to see.”

Brian Harman talks the press before the 2024 Dubai Desert Classic

Brian Harman is on of several players who have spoken in favour of a global golf tour

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Before the same event, the PGA Tour's Player Advisory Council chairman Adam Scott was another to speak in favour of the proposal. He said: “The way the professional game has been shaped over the last 20 years, it's been very important to be playing in America. You know, but I think a better balance can be achieved going forward."

Meanwhile, outgoing DP World Tour CEO Keith Pelley said: "I think the growth of the game is global. That's where the focus needs to be."

While the prospect of a world tour appears to be have legs, McGinley’s comments are a reminder that there is a sizeable gap between the idea and making it a reality.

Mike Hall

Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories. 

He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game. 

Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course. 

Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.