Colin Montgomerie calls PGA Tour and DP World Tour to ‘fight off’ Saudi-backed Asian Tour
Ryder Cup: Commentator says Rory McIlroy has been ‘scapegoat’
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Colin Montgomerie has called for the PGA Tour and DP World Tour to ‘fight off’ the Saudi-backed Asian Tour, after it received £150million in investment from the Saudi Arabian government’s Private Investment Fund.
The new Saudi investment has led to fears within the golfing world that a controversial ‘Super League’ could be brought in to challenge the PGA Tour and DP World Tour circuits.
There has been plenty of opposition to the idea from some of the sport’s biggest names, and now European stalwart Montgomerie has shared his worries on the investment.
Speaking at this week’s Dubai Desert Classic the Scot told BBC Sport “It’s a shame it’s come to this.
“We used to work well with the Asian Tour and now we are at loggerheads because of money.
‘It’s a problematic issue. It’s that horrible, evil word, money. The mighty dollar is ruling people’s hearts and minds.”
One event that is catching everybody’s eye on the Asian Tour is the upcoming Saudi Invitational which is set to kick off in the Middle East next week.
The event had featured on the DP World Tour schedule in its first three years, but has made the switch over to the Asian Tour this campaign with a glittering £3.7 million in prize money up for grabs.
The hefty financial prizes on offer has made it hard to turn down for many of the world’s best players, however Montgomerie believes the drive for financial reward has changed the game since his professional debut in 1987.
He continued: “We never played the game for money as such on the European Tour [now DP World Tour] when I first started out.
“I was trying to see how much better I could get as a golfer. Now it’s all about that evil word, money.
“It’s a shame. Let’s hope the European Tour is closer to the PGA Tour than we’ve ever been before and we can fight it off.”
One of golf’s biggest stars, Rory McIlroy, has repeatedly criticised the influx of Saudi investment into the game, ruling himself out of any Saudi-backed series or competition.
Despite this, he does sympathise with those players who do choose to head to the Middle East next week, describing the eye-watering prize money as ‘hard to turn down’ for many.
McIlroy said this week: “Everyone knows it’s a tricky one. But I certainly don’t blame anyone for going.
“At the end of the day, it’s our job and livelihood. If someone comes and offers you that sort of money, it’s hard to say no.”
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