Sources: PGA Tour eyes revamped slate, pursesTheSportsWig Admin
In response to the LIV Golf threat, the PGA Tour hopes to introduce a revamped schedule that will include increased purses worth at least $20 million in at least eight existing marquee events and three new events in a global golf series that will include no cuts, limited fields and purses of at least $25 million, sources told ESPN on Tuesday.
The details are still being finalized and are subject to change, the sources said, but the overhaul of the PGA Tour schedule is expected to be approved for 2023, as LIV Golf continues to pluck former major champions and other players from the tour’s roster of members.
PGA Tour members were told of the plans in a meeting at the Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Connecticut, on Tuesday morning. The tour’s players advisory committee and its policy board would still have to approve the changes. There were more meetings scheduled for Tuesday.
The PGA Tour is also returning to a calendar-year schedule, instead of a wraparound schedule that is currently being used. Top players have complained of there being no true offseason. If they don’t play in events in the fall at the start of the wraparound schedule, they’re far behind in points when they return to action after Jan. 1.
The latest PGA Tour players to defect to the LIV Golf Invitational Series are four-time major champion Brooks Koepka and Abraham Ancer, who is ranked 20th in the Official World Golf Ranking. LIV Golf has now signed eight of the top 50 players in the world, including Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed and Dustin Johnson, to compete in its series, which has 48-man fields, no cuts and $25 million purses.
According to sources, the increased purses would include existing tournaments such as the Sentry Tournament of Champions, the Genesis Invitational, Arnold Palmer Invitational, the Players Championship, the Memorial Tournament and others. Sources said the increased purses would be paid from sponsors or the tour’s reserves.
Additionally, three new international events, which would include no cuts and as many as the top 60 players in the previous season’s FedEx Cup standings, would be introduced. The events would not have anchor cities and would move around like the major championships, according to sources.
A player who attended the meeting with PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan on Tuesday told ESPN, “That’s the most engaged I’ve ever seen the membership.”
The player said he was impressed with the plan that Monahan presented.
“Jay was really great,” he said.
PGA Tour players have been lured to LIV Golf by signing bonuses of $100 million to $200 million, according to sources, and the prospect of making more money on the course in fewer tournaments. LIV Golf is being financed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, which is reportedly worth more than $600 billion.
“No way to combat that,” the player said. “We know that. But it’s three events for $25 million and it’s not coming out of our pocket. Who’s going to disagree with that?”
Harris English, the defending champion at this week’s Travelers Championship, said he thinks it’s possible these new measures might be enough to deter more players from defecting to LIV Golf.
“I think it can be, for sure,” English said. “One of the things out here on the PGA Tour, I mean, we have a lot of tournaments and I think the fall series has been tough. … Guys have families and they want to play a little less golf. However they can manage that to the best of both worlds of having the top players and the guys who are fighting for their card.”
Said Patrick Cantlay, who has six top-five finishes this year: “Right now it’s an uncertain time for golf, but if you think about it in the larger business landscape, it’s a competition for talent. So if the PGA Tour wants to remain the preeminent tour for professional golfers, it has to be the best place to play for the best players in the world.”