VIRGINIA WATER, England — In common with his fellow Europeans, next year reigning U.S. Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick is going to have to play in the 20 so-called “elite” events on a re-vamped PGA Tour, as well as finding time to support his home circuit.
As of now, he isn’t sure how that is all going to play out, but the changing face of professional golf at the highest level is something on which Fitzpatrick holds some strong views, especially with regard to the DP World Tour’s place in any new order.
“I do hope that events in Europe are part of whatever the final plan is,” Fitzpatrick said on Monday at Wentworth, where the DP World Tour’s signature event, the BMW PGA Championship, begins on Thursday. “The PGA Tour needs to live up to their role in the strategic alliance. I think it’s important that three or four DP World Tour events are part of the elite event mix. I was disappointed this year when so many spots in the Scottish Open were taken away from DP World Tour players. That was unfair. They got very little in return. They got screwed in my opinion. But I understand that’s where the tours are going.”
For the first time this year, the Genesis Scottish Open was co-sanctioned by the DP World Tour and PGA Tour. There were 74 players who qualified on their DP World status, while 71 made it though PGA Tour qualifcations, including Fitzpatrick. American PGA Tour player Xander Schauffele won the tournament.
“Overall, I am concerned for the European Tour with regard to what is going on,” he continued. “I’m not sure where it is going to be. They do need to play a lot fewer tournaments, but for more money. I’d rather see them playing a €2m event every two weeks than a €1m every week. But it’s tough to please everyone. It’s a balancing act between how you treat the star players and the rest. I’m not sure what the answer is. But both the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour need to be running fewer events. The market is over-saturated. There is too much golf.”
As for his own plans for 2023, Fitzpatrick is of the opinion that the new schedule probably won’t make too much difference to where and when he plays.
“My schedule will look a lot like this year,” he said. “The only question is what happens in the new ‘autumn season.’ Will I be playing in Europe or the States? That’s up in the air right now. But from January through August, everything will look pretty much the same.
“In my ideal world we’d play from January 1 to September 1. Then we’d have three months off. People would then miss golf and look forward to it coming back. We need to be more like the NFL. It is a relatively short season so just about every game is special.”