Currently in China to defend the title he won last year, only the second outside the US in his career, Phil is contemplating the possibility of joining the European Tour. If he does it would be a total turn around in his attitude and his often vocal opinion regarding golf outside of the US. He has maintained for years that the best golf and the best golfers come from the US, and he has always been reluctant to play in Europe. His dismal performances in the British Open are testament to his aversion for cold rainy, windy weather. But maybe as the trend to globalisation spreads Phil has finally seen the light. I would be amiss if I suggested that the prize money being offered had anything to do with his decision. The tournament in China has a purse of $5 million and it has been announced that the inaugural Dubai World Championship will have prize money of $10 million! He is defending his crown in what has come to be known unofficially as the ‘Asian Open’, an event that has attracted a star studded field that includes Sergio Garcia, Padraig Harrington, Anthony Kim, Robert Karlsson, Camillo Villega and a most of the other top 50 players from all over the world. If Sergio wins his third tournament in a row and Phil falls behind, the Spaniard will overtake Phil to become the 2nd. ranked player behind Tiger Woods.
The European tour requires its players to play 12 events during the course of a year, the four Majors and three Wold Golf Championships. Six of these events are played in the US so Phil would only have to commit to play six events outside of the US to qualify. Another consideration is his association with his four major sponsors who all have worldwide images, and there is probably some pressure being brought to bear on him from these sources who would like to their star performer playing in every country of the world. Phil is sponsored by Barclay’s Bank, Calloway Golf, KPMG, and Exxon Mobile.