04 Sep 2023

Ben Cowen: Compiling a global schedule is always a considerable challenge

By Ben Cowen, DP World Tour Chief Tournament Business Officer 

With three months of our 2023 campaign remaining, there is plenty still to play for on the DP World Tour this season, however the recent summer break provided an opportunity to look ahead to next year as we unveiled our new-look 2024 global schedule.

It will feature a minimum of 44 tournaments in 24 different countries, including two new events – the Dubai Invitational at the Dubai Creek Resort from January 11-14 which starts the calendar year, and the Bahrain Championship at the Royal Golf Club from February 1-4, which marks our return to the Kingdom for the first time in 12 years and which ends our run of four consecutive events in the Middle East.

Also new for 2024 is the creation of three distinct phases to our season which will build momentum across the Race to Dubai and guarantee even more drama and excitement throughout the campaign.

Our 2024 season begins with Phase One featuring our five Global Swings – the Opening Swing, the International Swing, the Asian Swing, the European Swing and the Closing Swing. These will each celebrate and showcase the global nature of our Tour, whilst grouping tournaments together based on location to make it easier for our members to travel from event to event.

In addition to new Bonus Pools for the best performers in these Swings, players will also be able to qualify for Rolex Series events as well as into the newly created ‘Back 9’ – Phase Two of our season – which brings together nine prestigious tournaments in September and October with elevated Race to Dubai points.

This phase will also benefit from a new exemption category which enables the leading available 15 players from the top 70 on the final FedEx Cup rankings to play in the ‘Back 9’ events, further enhancing our fields as we build towards to newly introduced ‘DP World Tour Play-Offs’ – the third and final Phase of 2024.

The Play-Offs comprise two Rolex Series events in the Middle East, the Abu Dhabi Championship, and the DP World Tour Championship, with the top 70 players followed by the top 50 players on the Race to Dubai qualifying for each event respectively.

Those two events will provide a spectacular finale to the 2024 season, which will be the third since the European Tour Group’s main Tour became the DP World Tour at the start of the 2022 campaign.

Traditionally, our schedule has tended to be unveiled around October, so this announcement was made significantly sooner than it normally would be.

Compiling a global schedule is always a considerable challenge and a process that takes many months. It requires extensive collaboration with our many partners, federations and venues, as well as a number of other stakeholders, including our partner Tours.

Changes made to one tournament can often have a knock-on impact on others, and for 2024 we also had the Olympic Games in Paris to factor into the equation.

When you are working on a schedule for one season, you also have future years to consider as well. It’s not as if you put one schedule announcement to bed, take a few weeks off and then start thinking about it the following year. It’s an ongoing, iterative process.

Already, we have discussions in progress for events we hope will come onto our schedule for 2025, including in new territories. So far, the DP World Tour has visited 51 different countries since our inception in 1972, and as our sport becomes more popular around the world, it opens up new possibilities.

The Ryder Cup is always an event that attracts new audiences to golf. It’s when our game enters the mainstream, and this month’s contest at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club on the outskirts of Rome promises to be another incredible showcase for our sport.

It might be Europe versus the United States, but the Ryder Cup has global appeal and for us as a global Tour, that is important. The pathway system we have created through our partnerships with other Tours encourages talent from all four corners of the world to compete on the DP World Tour, and already this season, players of 12 different nationalities have won on our Tour.

It is my role to provide a schedule which showcases this diversity by offering global playing opportunities for our current and future stars. But without doubt, it is the talent and skill of our players which enable me to do that, by continuing to attract fans and sponsors to our game.

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