What does it say for supporting your own Tour when there’s two events taking place this week either side of ‘the pond’ and there’s just one player inside the top-50 on the World Rankings competing in either?
The PGA Tour and its sister body the DP World Tour are supposed to be the biggest Tours in men’s professional golf but looking at the entry list of both events this week it’s somewhat of a joke the lack of support from those currently inside the top-100 on the world rankings.
Ireland’s Seamus Power, at World No. 48, is alone as the only player teeing-up in this week’s Butterfield Bermuda Championship to be inside the leading 50 and, as reported here, the Waterford golfer has not returned chasing the prize-money on offer but rather for his likeness of the Royal Port venue and the friends he’s made in his prior three visits.
“I really, really enjoy the place though I didn’t know much about the island before I came here the first time, but I’ve enjoyed my experience every time,” said Power.
The highest world ranked player competing at Vilamoura is Scotland’s and World No. 67 Robert MacIntyre, with the reigning Italian Open winner joined by only one other player inside the top-100 and that’s Scottish-based Frenchman Victor Perez, currently ranked World No. 93.
A year ago, MacIntyre was no fan of the Dom Pedro host venue as evident in posting a closing round 82, and tumbling to the tail of the field. So, why has MacIntyre chosen to return this year?
“This place wasn’t kind to me the last time I played it and that’s the reason I’m back, to prove a point to myself,” said MacIntyre. “The mental side of the game is so important. It wasn’t a good tournament for me, but then I finished well last year in Dubai. I like this Victoria course, I like the layout. The weather hasn’t been kind to this place recently, so the course is a bit soft, but it’s the same for everyone.”
Well said Bob and that’s what we want to hear.
MacIntyre also finds himself this week the highest-ranked on the Race to Dubai standings but at No. 15 he is among just five in the top-30 on the money list.
This year is the 16th hosting of the Portugal Masters on the Dom Pedro Victoria course with some notable past champions being Lee Westwood (2009), Shane Lowry (2012) and Padraig Harrington (2016).
It’s where England’s Ollie Fisher in 2018 created European Tour history by shooting the first, and still only, round of 59.
Saying that, the Portugal Masters has become a storyline in recent years of being the ‘Last Chance Saloon’ tournament where players struggling to retain their Tour card for the following season seem to capture the pre-tournament storylines.
I am guilty myself of again using the term ‘Last Chance Saloon’ this year in one or two other articles but given the good attendances each year at Vilamoura where are some more of the leading DP World Tour players, and what is the Tour doing to encourage those higher up the OWGR to tee-up on the Algarve? Surely sponsors must be asking the same questions?
And the same question for that matter to those who administer the PGA Tour.
Portugal and Bermuda are holiday destinations and those who like their golf look forward to taking a day off from chilling out on the sun-drenched beaches and go see close-up some of the best on either Tour teeing-up while those at home will be looking forward to tuning-in to television coverage.
But given the sad strength of both Tour fields this week the LIV Golf’s end-of-season showdown event in suburban Miami is going to command huge spectator attendance and near blanket attention.
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