Graeme McDowell has admitted what pretty much everyone in golf already knew – the European Tour is lagging behind its US version by quite a distance – but he says plans are afoot to try to boost the flagging professional scene this side of the Atlantic.
McDowell is one of several top stars that split their time between the US and European tours but, like most of his rivals, does spend more time across the pond with the rewards greater and competition usually tougher.
The Irishman says sometimes the European Tour does not help itself – like in staging the upcoming Scottish Open at Castle Stuart – and more needs to be done to attract the world’s best players on a more regular basis.
The Ryder Cup star wants to see the Scottish Open switched to one of the country’s traditional links courses, believing the move would benefit everyone involved with the event.
“No disrespect to the Scottish Open as I love that event but it has lost its prestige,” he told the Daily Record. “Aberdeen Asset Management have come in as sponsors and are trying to boost it. But Castle Stuart probably hasn’t been a strong enough course the past couple of years.
“Let’s get the Scottish Open on a phenomenal links course – with a great purse and a world-class field.”
The former US Open champion believes the Scottish Open’s problems reflect the wider issues golf needs to get to grips with on the European Tour and he has revealed he was among a group of players who recently sat down to discuss what could be done to improve it.
“I’m only playing the minimum on the European Tour this year for the first time and it’s not something I am particularly proud of,” he added.
“It’s tough to compete against the PGA Tour where we are playing for $6million to $7m week-in, week-out. The European Tour is struggling and the players are trying to come up with a strategy to combat that.
“I won’t name names but we had a bit of an unofficial sitdown and a brain dump. It was most of the guys who are dual European and PGA Tour members and we were trying to come up with better dates where we can attract the top players.
“We need strategies where guys can come back and support the national Opens around the four majors and four WGCs.”
McDowell remains one of the most respected players on the circuit – and good value for the British Open in the golf betting tips from betfair.com – and his influence on others will be an important element of his game.
He is clearly a player who wants to revive the European Tour and is not one of those happy to let it decline without looking at ways to improve it and attract the world’s best for more tournaments.
The US may be where the real money is – and that is unlikely to change any time soon – but the European Tour remains a key part of the golfing landscape, although it would benefit from a revamp of sorts, as McDowell is only too aware.
However, with the 33-year-old doing his best to push through reforms some much-needed changes could be on the horizon.