Top U.S. Players Flock to European Tour, Mickelson Calls U.S. Golf Industry ‘Stagnant'

Earlier this week, Phil Mickelson announced that he might start playing in Europe because of the bigger purses (thanks, "Race to Dubai"!), and because golf has become "stagnant" in the United States. (Seems like an odd thing to say; I mean, when I think of PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem, "stagnant" is the last thought to pop into my-- okay, fair point, Philbert.)

"I think Dubai has taken one of the giant leaps to making the game of golf more global in the quality of events," said Mickelson, adding that there had been a number of contributing factors that made international golf more attractive. "Certainly, the dollar weakening over the past few years has made foreign currencies much stronger, which makes the purses much larger, so there's been a lot of international wealth being created," he said. ...

"So I look forward to having opportunities to continue to play more internationally and I understand that that is going to be an important part of being an international golfer."

And while Mickelson has been a proponent for growing the game internationally for some time, he's not the only American player looking to tee it up overseas more often in 2009. In fact, Anthony Kim, the PGA Tour's best young player, has decided to join the European Tour.

Anthony Kim has joined the European Tour, the latest of a half-dozen PGA Tour players who have decided to take up joint membership in Europe for the 2009 season.

Kim, a 23-year-old American whose two PGA Tour victories propelled him to No. 8 in the world ranking, paid the $3,280 membership fee that makes him eligible for the season-ending $10 million "Race to Dubai" for the top 60 players and the additional $10 million bonus pool.

It's not clear what this means for the PGA Tour's future, but as long as Tiger Woods is around, there's probably not much for Finchem to worry about (well, other than Tiger deciding to just up and start his own tour). For the time being, anyway.

Golf FanHouse

Top U.S. Players Flock to European Tour, Mickelson Calls U.S. Golf Industry 'Stagnant' originally appeared on Golf FanHouse on 2008-10-30T18:30:00 00:00. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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