Mark SchlabachESPN Senior Writer6 Minute Read
In what commissioner Jay Monahan described as selections that can “remodel and set the longer term path” of the PGA Tour, the tour’s coverage board voted Tuesday night time to dramatically change the format for future designated occasions, which can have smaller fields and no cuts.
In a memo to PGA Tour members Wednesday, a replica of which was obtained by ESPN, Monahan introduced that eight designated occasions in 2024 and past can have fields between 70 to 80 gamers and no cuts. It’s one other wave of dramatic adjustments because the PGA Tour continues to attempt to fend off a risk from the Saudi-financed LIV Golf League.
“Over the final 12 months, we have now spent a large period of time exploring how you can higher place the PGA Tour for continued progress,” Monahan wrote. “How to innovate and ship a greater product. How to additional showcase our high performers, whereas staying true to the meritocracy and legacy that outline the Tour. How to create a season of consequence that deepens and expands fan curiosity. How to make each event higher and ship extra worth to sponsors, media companions and host organizations — to the advantage of the whole membership.”
Starting in 2024, the PGA Tour will now not require high gamers to take part in sure occasions: the Players, the 4 main championships (if gamers are eligible), the three FedEx Cup playoffs tournaments and an extra eight designated occasions, which have not but been introduced. Instead, in accordance with Monahan’s memo, the tour will “concentrate on guaranteeing purse measurement, elimination of a reduce and FedEx Cup factors distribution to sufficiently incentivize high performers to take part within the Designated occasions.”
Monahan advised members that area sizes for the Players and the three FedEx Cup playoffs occasions would stay unchanged. Fields for the eight different designated occasions will embody: the highest 50 gamers from the prior 12 months’s FedEx Cup factors listing by means of the playoffs; the highest 10 gamers from the present 12 months’s factors listing who aren’t in any other case eligible; the highest 5 gamers who aren’t in any other case eligible who earn essentially the most factors in tournaments between designated occasions; winners of current-year, full-point occasions; PGA Tour members within the high 30 of the Official World Golf Ranking; and 4 sponsor exemptions, which will probably be restricted to PGA Tour members.
Monahan stated the adjustments “will reward high performers, present ample alternative for play-in from season lengthy efficiency and totally different intervals all through the season, retain an emphasis on profitable and be easy for the fan to grasp.”
Monahan acknowledged that smaller fields within the designated occasions had grow to be a “scorching matter” amongst members. While many high gamers permitted of the adjustments, members outdoors the highest 75 on the planet nervous that they had been being overlooked of the designated occasions, which had $20 million purses this season.
“These smaller, Designated occasion fields won’t solely ship substantial, can’t-miss tournaments to our followers at vital intervals all through the season, however they will even improve the standard of Full-Field occasions,” Monahan wrote. “Together, this strategy supplies a schedule that’s cohesive, compelling, consequential and with readability for followers, gamers and sponsors alike.”
Rory McIlroy, a participant director on the tour coverage board, stated each participant has an opportunity to get into the designated occasions, even when the fields are smaller.
“I need to give everybody a good shake at this, which I feel this construction has completed,” McIlroy stated. “There’s methods to play into it. It’s attempting to get the highest guys versus the recent guys, proper? I feel that creates a very compelling product. But in a approach that you do not have to attend a complete 12 months to your good play to then get the chance. That alternative presents itself immediately. You play properly for 2 or three weeks, you are in a chosen occasion. You know then in case you preserve taking part in properly, you keep in them. So, for instance, somebody like a Chris Kirk final week that wins Honda, he is set.”
While some PGA Tour gamers have closely criticized LIV Golf’s 54-hole, no-cut format, McIlroy stated these kinds of occasions have existed on the tour for a very long time.
“Well, we have at all times had no-cut occasions on this tour,” McIlroy stated. “If you consider the 4 [World Golf Championships], you have received the three playoffs occasions, you have received the CJ Cup, the Zozo. So there’s precedent there for no-cut occasions. The solely motive no-cut occasions are a giant deal is as a result of LIV has come alongside.”
The LIV Golf League wasted little time in responding to the PGA Tour’s changes, posting to social media that “imitation is the best type of flattery.”
Max Homa, the No. 8 participant on the planet, stated he preferred the adjustments by the PGA Tour.
“The product is vital,” Homa advised reporters at a information convention on the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Wednesday. “I feel it is easy to border these adjustments as a method to put extra money within the high gamers’ pockets. But it has been made to make it simpler and extra enjoyable for the followers. I do know it is low-hanging fruit to leap on, ‘Oh, that is only a cash seize.’
“It is a assure on who will probably be at occasions, kind of, and leaning extra on the ‘extra’ there. It is extra alternative for the highest gamers to battle it out late on Sundays. Which, you look again at instances of Phil [Mickelson] and Tiger [Woods], the 2 greatest gamers rising up for me watching, and so they had, like, perhaps two actual battles. So we’ll have extra of that. We simply had Scottie [Scheffler] and Jon [Rahm] battle it out in Phoenix, and that was superior. Two of the three greatest gamers on the planet going at it, so I feel that is nice.”
Homa stated he understood some gamers’ frustration with the smaller fields in designated occasions.
“The tour had, in my view, an issue within the sense that 30% of the highest 50 gamers on this tour had been taking part in towards one another week in and week out,” Homa stated. “So they checked out one thing that was a damaging, a deficiency, and stated, ‘OK, we would like extra of the highest guys taking part in towards one another.’ Again, for the followers, for leisure. That’s not an excellent look that the one time you may see the most effective gamers on the planet teeing it up towards one another is the Players and the majors.”
Scheffler agreed that the PGA Tour needed to discover a method to get its greatest gamers competing towards one another as a lot as attainable — and on the weekend.
“I feel it is thrilling as a result of you are going to have the highest guys on the planet taking part in towards one another extra typically,” Scheffler stated. “You’re going to have the ability to assure the sponsors that these guys are going to be there 4 days. If you are popping out to an occasion to look at on Saturday and Sunday and, you realize, if I’m imagining myself as a child, I wish to get on the market early.
“Let’s say I’m having a nasty week. Some child can come out and watch me play early within the day and you’ll assure that Rory McIlroy’s going to be there on Sunday, Jon Rahm’s going to be there on Sunday. I feel that is a number of worth added to TV and for sponsors.”
The FedEx Cup factors mannequin will probably be adjusted, in accordance with the memo, with elevated factors for the Players, the 4 main championships and the eight designated occasions. The Player Impact Program will probably be decreased to $50 million to the highest 10 gamers; the bonus program will play $100 million to the highest 20 this 12 months. Monahan wrote that the $50 million will probably be reallocated to the FedEx Cup bonus program and the Comcast Business Tour Top 10.
The memo stated the tour intends to create a schedule of designated occasions and full-field occasions so “there aren’t any remoted weeks, creating a powerful cadence for gamers and followers alike.”
“This schedule is designed to permit high performers the flexibleness to take part in each Designated and Full-Field occasions,” Monahan wrote. “Full-Field occasions will grow to be extra consequential as they permit new and upcoming stars to rise to the highest and provides the membership a capability to play their approach into the Designated occasions.”
In one other change permitted by the board, the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii will embody the highest 50 gamers from the earlier 12 months’s FedEx Cup factors listing by means of the playoffs, plus event winners from the earlier 12 months, together with fall occasions.