I've played on both tours, have worked my way from the bottom and have seen it all. I've even won a few tournaments here and there!
The European Circus
I'm currently sat in the bar of my hotel, it's a subdued atmosphere this evening, one of both stress and relief. Guys knowing they're heading to Q school and hoping they get another shot next year, and ones that know they are safe and will be joining the travelling circus in 2016 again.
Which in turn brings me to my point. For years now The European Tour (ET) has been searching to find a schedule that suits... Well, I'll tell you now they can't! They couldn't schedule an appointment at the doctors without it clashing with getting your hair cut and your car serviced!
I've been on tour for years, and I'm yet to see a schedule that's worked. This years schedule was/is nothing short of a piss take. I'd love to know who thought it was great... 'Yeah let's start the year in South Africa then head to the Middle East, Kuala Lumpur, Thailand, India, then another three weeks in South Africa... What a great idea Dave, let's do it!'
That would be the noise you'd of heard if I was in charge, I'd of shot him on the spot!
At what point during that meeting did that schedule sound like a good idea, seven countries in 12 weeks is utter madness. Guys trying to make a living on tour spending thousands in air fares, surely they could of come up with a more logistical and sensible start to the year?
As they keep telling us... 'We are here for you'... Jog on prick!
What I've always found odd about the ET is that it's very much a 'We do it our way, and that's it!'
I spent some of my early season on the PGA Tour, it was great, it was relaxed, I didn't feel half as tired as previous years on early year ET seasons. What the PGA Tour does, which ET should take serious note of, is having a travel schedule that's easier. The PGA Tour starts on the west coast, then heads to the desert, then Florida swing, then Texas.
It's easy, the travelling is minimal, not like having to get from Thailand to India (which by the way are probably the worst two countries on the planet to enter and exit!) and then getting from India back to South Africa.
Once you make it back to Europe, the schedule isn't bad, it's not as taxing on your time, and certainly not your wallet either!
Rory and the lads
I met up with a few guys on Monday at Wentworth having a quiet beer with them. They all looked tired, restless and disinterested and I'm pretty certain they were all in desperate need of a break. One young British lad, I won't mention his name but he knows who he is, told me he would 'Rather shag a scabby horse in front of an audience' than do that start all over again!
But once you get back to Europe the big purses all come rolling into town, and the chance to recharge those batteries gets harder and harder, especially for those that are fighting for their card for next year.
A lot of guys that I talk to know all echo the same comment 'I'm having to cut back on starts' or 'I'm going to miss the first part of the season and try and catch up'.
The number of times I've played with Rory his concerns are always the same 'I can't do it! Physically and mentally I can't do it!'
Just several weeks ago I broke the news on my Twitter account that he was considering quitting the ET altogether, and solely relying on invites to play in Europe.
Henrik Stenson is another, he keeps telling me why should he play a schedule like that, miss valuable family time, and exhaust himself just for the privilege! The alarm bells must be ringing at European Tour HQ if their best assets are thinking of quitting!
I keep posting on my Twitter account that this season's last six events are nothing short of farcical, if you manage to scrape your way into the top 78 after playing Portugal-Hong Kong-Turkey-Shanghai and finally Dubai, it's worthy of a years sabbatical on its own!
It's over 50 hours of flying time and crossing nearly 30 time zones... not something many guys had in mind!
But sadly it's either that or start a new job.
I'm not saying it's a hard life, but it's felt like they want to make it hard for us? Why? Who knows? Maybe it's their way of telling us we should be grateful, or that in truth, they hold all the cards, and the power to dictate terms!
With the news that the Asian Tour is joining forces, the travelling circus only gets bigger and more stupid! I don't think it will be long before both tours merge together, to form some type of EurAsia tour, which after thinking about it (over my fourth pint) doesn't sound such a bad idea. Start the year in South East Asia, Middle East Swing, Africa, Europe, before the final series in Turkey, Shanghai, and finally Dubai... Problem solved!
But no, it's unlikely as that would mean copying the PGA tour! So instead we'll start the year in Dubai, before two tournaments in Singapore, a week in South Africa, before heading back to Abu Dhabi, then to Thailand... shortly followed by a mild cardiac arrest! Sounds Great!
A European tour exec told me that some of the European events won't be sacrificed to stage more Asian events, as these events he said 'would financially benefit' us more. Sounds great but we have to remember how sponsors came to funding these high purse Asia events, simple, it's all thanks to the great events in Europe that have drawn them in!
But before I finish my pint, I'll leave you with this. A retired pro I bumped into a few weeks ago told me that if he ever saw another airport/aeroplane again he'd commit suicide. He wouldn't last long on tour now, he'd be lucky if he made it to South Africa!
I'm the Managing Editor at The Club. I like putting and Rioja. I dislike my low slice.