Top Indian golfers will now have a clear pathway to the European Tour and higher levels of the sport as the Professional Golf Tour of India has inked a partnership deal with the Professional Golfers Association (PGA) Tour and DP World Tour.
The alliance also provides for more international events for Indian golfers in India.
It could be the single biggest step for Indian golfers aspiring to get to the biggest Tours in the world, feels the PGTI.
“In a major development for Indian golf, the two biggest golf Tours in the world, the DP World Tour and PGA TOUR jointly announced on Friday a new partnership with the TATA Steel Professional Golf Tour of India (TATA Steel PGTI),” the organisation said in a release.
“The partnership includes a commitment to developing golf in India and providing a pathway for the country’s top players to reach the highest levels of the mens professional game on the DP World and PGA Tours,” the release said.
The biggest takeaway for Indian golfers will be that the top-ranked Indian player on the 2022 TATA Steel PGTI Rankings will earn membership in the DP World Tour for the following season beginning with the DP World Tours 2023 campaign.
The next highest-ranked non-exempt player in the top ten on the rankings will earn a spot in the Final Stage of the DP World Tour Qualifying School, while a further three players will earn spots in the Second Stage.
The latest announcement adds to the playing opportunities for international players to compete at the highest levels of mens professional golf, with the leading 10 players on DP World Tours Race To Dubai Rankings (in addition to those already exempt0 earning cards on the PGA TOUR, beginning with the 2024 season. That partnership between the PGA TOUR and DP World Tour was announced in June.
The strategic partnership will provide a range of benefits for PGTI members, with the DP World Tour and PGA TOUR working with the PGTI on other key business areas, including strategic development and commercial growth, as well as a joint commitment to increasing prize money for a host of PGTI tournaments,” the release informed.
The DP World Tour has already announced two new Challenge Tour events for India. The PGTI players will have access to 60 spots in each of the two Challenge Tour events which will be played in India next March – the Duncan Taylor Black Bull Challenge (March 23-26) and The Challenge Presented by KGA (March 28-31).
Both tournaments will take place at Karnataka Golf Association in Bangalore and were announced as part of the Challenge Tours 2023 Road to Mallorca on Wednesday.
Six Indian players have combined to win 16 events on the DP World Tour, including four each by Jeev Milkha Singh and S.S.P. Chawrasia, the latter in 2016 and 2017 claimed consecutive victories at the Hero Indian Open – the event which will return to the DP World Tours schedule in 2023 after a four-year absence due to the global pandemic.
Arjun Atwal remains the lone Indian to win on both the DP World Tour and PGA TOUR, winning three events on the former Tour before adding the Wyndham Championship to his trophy collection in 2010.
Keith Pelley, Chief Executive of the DP World Tour, said: “Our global pathway system enables players from different international Tours to compete on the DP World Tour, and we are delighted to extend that opportunity to players from the TATA Steel Professional Golf Tour of India.
“We have already seen some terrific players from India establish themselves and win on our Tour, and this partnership will give many more the chance to follow in their footsteps, as well as potentially go on to play on the PGA TOUR too. “We also look forward to working together with the PGTI and the PGA TOUR to continue to develop golf in India in the years ahead, helping the PGTI to provide a strong platform for golfers in the country,” he was quoted as saying in the release.
Jay Monahan, Commissioner of the PGA TOUR, said, “Its hard to believe over two decades have passed since Arjun Atwal made history as the first Indian golfer to win on both the European Tour and PGA TOUR. This partnership, which further builds on the additional playing opportunities in the mens professional game, will help make similar dreams come true for many Indian golfers to come.”
Uttam Singh Mundy, Chief Executive Officer of the Professional Golf Tour of India, said, “We are delighted to announce our partnership with the DP World Tour and PGA TOUR, the leading professional golf tours in the world. This new association is a watershed moment for the PGTI as it opens many doors for our professionals on the international stage and is a recognition of the growing stature of Indian professional golf and our tour.”