McGinley's plea to stay-away Euro stars

By Brian Keogh

Paul McGinley has called on Europe's top stars to support the tour's "bread and butter" events or kiss them goodbye.

The three-time Ryder Cup hero is worried about the loss of major sponsors and historic tournaments in continental Europe due to poor fields.

Following a meeting of the tour's Tournament Committee in Abu Dhabi, the Dubliner revealed that debate is raging over the possibility of increasing the 11-event minimum to 13.

McGinley said: "The bigger issue we need to face is not increasing the number of tournaments but getting our big players to commit more to the mainstay events, the bread and butter continental Europe events.

"We've already lost the DeutscheBank and the European Open because we haven't had strong fields and there's a lot of rumblings going on about the French Open too.

"Over the years, we have spread our wings to Asia, South Africa and even South America at one stage.

"That's all great and wonderful but our core business is the Continent of Europe. I think we need to address the problem of not having strong fields in big profile events that have large amounts of prize money.

"We have already lost two of those events and my concern is that we might lose more of them."

Next year’s European Tour schedule will climax with the $10 million (€6.8 million) Dubai World Championship for the top-60 money winners.

That's fine by McGinley but he still believes that the top players should make more of an effort to support the traditional European events.

He said: "The people who should be rewarded with going to Dubai should be the people who supported the Tour during the year - not people who played seven events through the World Championships and the Majors and then just a few appearances in Asia, where they get huge appearance money and all of a sudden they've got 11.

"My concern is the core business which are the Continental European events - the Italian Open, the Spanish Open, the Irish Open, the European Open, the Scandinavian Opens, the French Open especially."

As for the European Tour's drug policy, which comes into effect on July 1, McGinley has no fears for golf’s clean cut image.

He said: "Bring it on as far as I am concerned. Show ourselves and the world that we are a clean sport."

With a grin, he added: "The only problem is that Harrington might get done for 'Diet Coke'. That would be embarrassing for the Tour, an overdose of Diet Coke."