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British golfer Pepperell voices concern over European Tour

Eddie Pepperell in action in Dubai in January 2020
Eddie Pepperell in action in Dubai in January 2020 GIUSEPPE CACACE AFP/File
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London (AFP)

British golfer Eddie Pepperell said on Tuesday he is concerned for the future of the European Tour given the "frankly terrifying" state of the global economy due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Tour starts its newly formed British swing on Wednesday at the British Masters after returning to action with two events in Austria earlier this month.

Pepperell, ranked 82nd in the world, won the British Masters in 2018 and was runner-up last year.

The tournament, at Close House Golf Course in northeast England, has a prize fund of 1.25 million euros ($1.5 million) and is the first of six consecutive events in Britain.

The remaining five tournaments have purses of one million euros each and are funded by the European Tour itself.

In stark contrast, the US-based PGA Tour has been providing full prize funds since it returned last month and $10.5 million is up for grabs at next week's WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational.

Pepperell, 29, personally feels under no financial pressure to play, but is concerned about the broader picture for the European game.

"I worry more about the cascading effects because if we're playing for 30 percent less then that has a knock-on effect," he said.

"I don't pay my caddie as much, I don't pay my coach as much, I don't pay my physio as much so they're not as wealthy and that's what concerns me with not just golf obviously.

"It's the whole situation we see around the world, the deflationary aspect of it which is frankly, a little terrifying."

Asked if he feared for the future of the European Tour, Pepperell added: "I suppose so, but ultimately there's probably a dozen companies on the planet that could have survived this crisis without massive intervention and they are the Apples and Amazons of the world.

"I don't think the fact that the Tour could struggle is necessarily a sign it wasn't in a decent enough position heading into this crisis -- this is just such a huge crisis."

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