Not everyone is disappointed to see DP World Tour chief executive Keith Pelley leaving the circuit.
Pelley, who has been at the helm since August 2015, announced this week he accepted the position of President & CEO of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, the parent company of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs, the NBA’s Toronto Raptors, as well as the city’s MLS and Canadian Football League franchises.
Count Spaniard Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, a seven-time winner on the DP World Tour, among those who wish Pelley well but aren’t necessarily sad to see him go.
“I believe KP’s departure might be a good thing for the tour as some of the membership have lost confidence on his guidance over the last couple of months,” Fernandez-Castano said in an email. “To be honest I wouldn’t have liked to be on his shoes over the last few years, when he had to deal with the pandemic and with very a poor financial situation, mostly created by poor management (oversized structure of the tour and promoting and financing most of their own tournaments).”
The 43-year-old veteran gave Pelley credit for some of his efforts to keep the circuit competitive in a changing landscape but at the end of the day said Pelley left the tour in worse shape than when he started.
“When he arrived he tried to compete against the PGA Tour with the creation of the Rolex Series, which unfortunately never really worked as they never attracted the best players. But how did we end up becoming a secondary tour to the PGA Tour makes no sense to me. I can’t really understand the logic of giving away your best 10 players every year to your biggest competitor. How can that be sustainable in the long term?
“On the bright side, he wasn’t afraid of innovations, as he proved with the Golf Sixes or the ShotClock events, and he did (provide) outstanding management during the 2020 season through the Covid pandemic where he got us playing back pretty fast in comparison with other sports.
“Some things could have been done better like the negotiations regarding the OWGR points where the DP World players have definitely lost. He was the one who opened the door to the Saudis to the world of professional golf and he didn’t take advantage of that.”
Earlier this week, Golfweek spoke with four former European Ryder Cup players who expressed similar concerns about some moves that backfired. Speaking this week in Dubai, Pelley said he would stay on until April 2 and is committed to seeing the…