PGA and DP Allied World Tours. Then came the LIV Golf.

Fabrizio Zanotti was waiting to find out where he would be this week.

Ranked 38th on the DP World Tour, he was on the cusp of getting into Genesis Scottish Open. But since last summer, an alliance between the PGA Tour and DP has meant he has a place on the PGA Tour. Barbasola Championshipnearly 4,000 miles from Nicholasville, Kentucky if he hadn’t made it to the Scottish Open.

Zanotti from Paraguay did not complain. “It’s really good,” he said. “The partnership is nice for us here in Europe to be able to get there.”

Just a few months ago, the PGA Tour and the European Tour, which is overseen by the DP World Tour, had an alliance that looked fruitful. After decades of competing for players, the tours merged in the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic, and by November 2020 they had formalized the partnership.

The tours announced last August that they would jointly sanction three events: the Scottish Open and the Barbasol, which run Thursday through Sunday, and Barracuda Championship next week in Reno, Nevada opposite UK Open.

This meant that PGA and DP World Tour players could enter any competition as long as they were ranked high enough to enter. But it basically meant that if they didn’t make it to the Scottish Open or the British Open, they would get a great consolation prize by playing in smaller events on the more prestigious PGA Tour.

When this deal was announced in August, it was billed as a sign of a deepening collaboration between the tours and was sold as a benefit to members of both tours.

“Because we jointly sanctioned three tournaments this year, we are no longer competing for the best players,” European Tour commissioner Keith Pelley said in an interview earlier this year.

“Everything changed after November 2020. There has been a shift in mindset for both of our organizations to work as closely as possible together and share every aspect of our business. We have moved from competitors to partners.”

Those were the times. This alliance is being publicly and politically tested as part of the new Saudi-backed LIV Golf Tour. A series of high-priced invitations lured away a bunch of PGA and DP World Tour players and left more established tours scrambling to make a change.

In the first event, the winner took home $4 million, but the money was guaranteed to every player, including last place A.ndi Ogletreewon the 2019 U.S. Amateur Championship. (He didn’t make it to the first LIV in the US, at Pumpkin Ridge in Oregon, putting his professional future in doubt.)

For golfers trying to move up the rankings and compete in tournaments, money certainly matters, but what matters most is the points in the Official World Golf Rankings. They determine the degree of control players have over their schedule.

“The post-merger gaming experience is great,” said Maverick Antcliff, who played college at Augusta State University in Georgia and finished 171st on the DP Tour. “If you have a good week in this competition on the opposite field, you have the opportunity to transfer to the US. This is the path I want to take. This strategic alliance has given us a clearer path.”

Prior to the formation of the alliance, players in Europe received invitations to the PGA Tour and major tournaments by placing in the top 50 in the world, not just on a specific tour, or qualifying for the United States or British Open through their own qualifying process. The strategic alliance gave talented but lower-ranked players the opportunity to enter the PGA Tour and possibly finish high enough to better control their schedule.

While this raises more serious, existential questions for professional golf, it has more practical weekly implications for players trying to get into tournaments like the Scottish Open. Will LIV Golf defectors who are eliminated from tournaments give other players the opportunity to compete? And that’s another way doorstep players ask if they have a place in tournaments after staying true to the tour they played.

The answers are not clear. First, the two rounds are structured differently. The PGA Tour is non-commercial. The European tour is essentially a union of its participants. Thus, their punishments varied because their members allegedly had the right to vote.

Jay Monahan, commissioner of the PGA Tour, has threatened to suspend or ban players who go on the LIV tour (with a number of players such as Dustin Johnson and Kevin Na resigning their memberships after moving to the LIV).

Pelley, commissioner of the European Tour, had to take a different tact with his players: they were fined $120,000 for participating in the first LIV in London and banned from the three co-sanctioned tournaments. Pablo Larrazabal and Oliver Becker have paid their fines and returned to the European Tour at the recent Irish Open horizontal.

However, the LIV Tour, which aims to challenge existing tours, does so at the expense of future players. Take, for example, Ogletree, who struggled on the PGA Tour but needed to return to his status as a U.S. amateur champion. Now the question remains what his move to the LIV Tour means for his professional career.

In late June, the tours announced a major expansion of their partnership. Among them is the PGA Tour, which is increasing its share of the European Tour from 15 percent to 40 percent, which will lead to more prize money on the DP World Tour. It also gives players on this tour a route to the PGA Tour, where the top 10 European players at the end of the season receive playing privileges in the United States.

“The participation of the DP World Tour and these players will just help expand our tournament, which is great for our sponsor, Barracuda Networks,” said Chris Hoff, Tournament Director of the Barracuda Championship, noting that 50 DP World Tour players will take part in the tournament. addition to 106 from the PGA Tour.

“There are a lot of guys who want to come. This is an average to above average tournament when it comes to the number of Race to Dubai points available in addition to the cash wallet.”

These points are important, and since none of the players who went to the LIV Tour can play in the three co-sanctioned tournaments this season, it leaves an opportunity for other players who have stayed on the tours.

For a player like Antcliff, whose world rating of 550 sometimes makes it difficult to compete in tournaments, alternative away competitions give him hope. “It’s nice for me when there is an event and you have the opportunity to play in the same week,” he said. “It’s a long season. Your best week is just around the corner. This is another opportunity to play on the PGA Tour.”

The changes in joint sanctioning have not been good for all tournaments. Recent John Deere Classic used to play opposite the Scottish Open. His claim to fame was that the plane was waiting for the winner at the British Open.

Zanotti will play this week at the Scottish Open. However, he was scheduled to play in the Barracuda Championship on the PGA Tour the following week, but his fourth-place finish in the Irish Open qualified him for the British Open.

“It’s not very easy to get through the world rankings to play on the PGA Tour unless you’re in the top 50 players,” said Zanotti, who has a world ranking of 237. “That’s why I think it’s great to have those two opportunities. . . . You can always win or have a good week.”