Date: August 22, 2018
Author: Mark Hayes

Pelley keen to expand Aussie presence

European Tour boss Keith Pelley has expressed a desire to have more involvement in Australian golf.

On the heels of yesterday's announcement that the Vic Open would be co-sanctioned by Europe, chief executive Pelley told Inside The Ropes that he was open to expansion past the existing three events.

The Canadian expressed interest in the national championship, but also said the tour's interests reached beyond the top-tier Australian tournaments.

"Obviously our ties are very strong … the Australian PGA is on our schedule and now Victoria and Perth," Pelley said.

"(PGA of Australia CEO Gavin Kirkman) and I shared emails yesterday on the schedule and we met at the Open Championship (in Carnoustie) and talked about how we can work closely together.

"In terms of the Australian Open, we'd love to be involved in it.

"But the Australian Open is a different event with a different promoter. We've had conversations and anything could happen down the road.

"We'd also love to have a Challenge (secondary) Tour event, it won't be for 2019 season, it would be the 2020 at the earliest, but it's safe to say that the relationship we have with the PGA Tour of Australasia is incredibly strong.

"I have a tonne of time for Gavin (and) his vision and we're going to try to help and work with Gavin and his team moving forward."

Pelley said the European Tour’s drive towards becoming involved with the Vic Open was born in feedback from players during last year’s ISPS Handa World Super 6 Perth.

“The players overwhelmingly talked to me about, `Is there any chance we could have another tournament (in Australia)?’,” he said.

“(They said that) coming all the way to Australia is such a long way (for one event).

“That’s when the conversation began with Victoria and we are delighted to make this announcement to be involved in it.

“We wanted back-to-back tournaments in Australia, the first time since February 2004.”