In their own words: European Tour CEO Keith Pelley

Jenny Yu
By Jenny Yu October 6, 2018 10:28

It has been a busy few months at the European Tour since my last column, a time where we have made progress in many areas but, as always, there still remains plenty to do.

Understandably, our main focus in recent months has been on the build-up to the 2018 Ryder Cup. As I write, we are a couple of weeks’ away from the match itself, so I will give a full review and my thoughts of how events unfolded at Le Golf National next time round.

Keith Pelley

Team Europe were of course led in France by Thomas Bjørn, but it is his home country that I would like to focus on this month, and in particular the Made in Denmark tournament on the European Tour.

I have said many times that we are in the entertainment and content business that has golf as our platform. Nowhere is that more perfectly embodied than by Made in Denmark and their innovative promoter Flemming Astrup.

AARHUS, DENMARK – SEPTEMBER 01: Lee Westwood of England tees off on the 15th hole during day three of Made in Denmark at Silkeborg Ry GC on September 1, 2018 in Aarhus, Denmark. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

I was in Silkeborg, Thomas’s home town, a few weeks ago for this year’s Made in Denmark which just happened to also be the final counting event in our Ryder Cup qualification process, and as well as giving me a first-hand opportunity to welcome Thorbjørn Olesen to the team it also afforded me the time to sit and listen to Flemming’s creative mind.

In the past I have travelled to the tournament in Himmerland and seen first-hand the remarkable atmosphere around the famous Himmerland Hill on the 16th green, both during play and at the concerts held there in the evenings.

AARHUS, DENMARK – SEPTEMBER 01: Matthew Southgate of England plays his shot of the 15th tee during day three of Made in Denmark at Silkeborg Ry GC on September 1, 2018 in Aarhus, Denmark. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

This year in Silkeborg, Flemming created some of the most imaginative and exciting hole promotions I have ever seen on Tour. There was the drivable par four 12th where, if players hit the green, they and their caddies were given rubber golf balls to toss into the crowd which could be exchanged for a pint of Heineken. Heineken loved it so much they renewed for the next five years!

However the greatest promotion was on the 15th where they actually had the tee box inside the hospitality tent. Absolutely brilliant! The good news is this team and this tournament will be with us for at least another five years.

In July we announced an extension of the tournament until 2023 and during the week in Silkeborg we confirmed the date for 2019 will be May 23-26, the week which has traditionally been the BMW PGA Championship week at Wentworth, which is moving to September.

Another tournament which will be held next September is the KLM Open in the Netherlands and, having just finished this year’s event, I am looking forward to it already. Like Flemming Astrup, promoter Daan Slooter and his team are innovative thinkers who understand that, for fans, golf tournaments should be more than just watching golf.

AARHUS, DENMARK – SEPTEMBER 01: Jazz Janewattananond of Thailand plays his shot off the 15th hole during day three of Made in Denmark at Silkeborg Ry GC on September 1, 2018 in Aarhus, Denmark. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

Nowhere is that better illustrated than on the par three 14th at The Dutch course in Spijk where they host their famous ‘Beat The Pro’ competition, where amateurs are invited from the crowd to try and do just that after the professionals have hit their tee shots in the tournament proper. If they do, they win two tickets to anywhere in the world on KLM.

The result? The fans who come to our tournaments in Denmark and Holland go away having had fun, excitement and having tried something a bit different. What more could you ask for?


To find out more about European Tour events, visit


Jenny Yu
By Jenny Yu October 6, 2018 10:28
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