PGA Tour revamps format for designated occasions, with no cuts

In what commissioner Jay Monahan described as choices that may “rework and set the longer term route” of the PGA Tour, the tour’s coverage board voted Tuesday evening to dramatically change the format for future designated occasions, which may 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 may have fields between 70 to 80 gamers and no cuts. It’s one other wave of dramatic modifications because the PGA Tour continues to attempt to fend off a risk from the Saudi-financed LIV Golf League.

“Over the final 12 months, now we have spent a large period of time exploring higher place the PGA Tour for continued progress,” Monahan wrote. “How to innovate and ship a greater product. How to additional showcase our prime 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 prime 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, based on Monahan’s memo, the tour will “give attention to making certain purse dimension, elimination of a lower and FedEx Cup factors distribution to sufficiently incentivize prime performers to take part within the Designated occasions.”

Monahan informed 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 embrace: the highest 50 gamers from the prior 12 months’s FedEx Cup factors record by the playoffs; the highest 10 gamers from the present 12 months’s factors record 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 prime 30 of the Official World Golf Ranking; and 4 sponsor exemptions, which might be restricted to PGA Tour members.

Monahan mentioned the modifications “will reward prime performers, present ample alternative for play-in from season lengthy efficiency and completely different intervals all through the season, retain an emphasis on successful and be easy for the fan to grasp.”

Monahan acknowledged that smaller fields within the designated occasions had turn into a “scorching matter” amongst members. While many prime gamers authorized of the modifications, members exterior the highest 75 on this planet anxious that they have been being omitted 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 essential intervals all through the season, however they may also improve the standard of Full-Field occasions,” Monahan wrote. “Together, this strategy gives a schedule that’s cohesive, compelling, consequential and with readability for followers, gamers and sponsors alike.”

Max Homa, the No. 8 participant on this planet, mentioned he preferred the modifications.

“The product is essential,” Homa informed reporters at a information convention on the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Wednesday. “I feel it is easy to border these modifications as a strategy to put extra money within the prime 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 might 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 finest gamers rising up for me watching, and so they had, like, perhaps two actual battles. So we will 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 finest gamers on this planet going at it, so I feel that is nice.”

Homa mentioned he understood some gamers’ frustration with the smaller fields in designated occasions.

“The tour had, for my part, an issue within the sense that 30% of the highest 50 gamers on this tour have been taking part in in opposition to one another week in and week out,” Homa mentioned. “So they checked out one thing that was a destructive, a deficiency, and mentioned, ‘OK, we wish extra of the highest guys taking part in in opposition to one another.’ Again, for the followers, for leisure. That’s not look that the one time you may see one of the best gamers on this planet teeing it up in opposition to one another is the Players and the majors.”

Scheffler agreed that the PGA Tour needed to discover a strategy to get its finest gamers competing in opposition to one another as a lot as potential — and on the weekend.

“I feel it is thrilling as a result of you are going to have the highest guys on this planet taking part in in opposition to one another extra usually,” Scheffler mentioned. “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 understand, if I’m imagining myself as a child, I want to get on the market early.

“Let’s say I’m having a foul week. Some child can come out and watch me play early within the day and you may assure that Rory McIlroy’s going to be there on Sunday, Jon Rahm’s going to be there on Sunday. I feel that is plenty of worth added to TV and for sponsors.”

The FedEx Cup factors mannequin might be adjusted, based on the memo, with elevated factors for the Players, the 4 main championships and the eight designated occasions. The Player Impact Program might 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 might be reallocated to the FedEx Cup bonus program and the Comcast Business Tour Top 10.

The memo mentioned the tour intends to create a schedule of designated occasions and full-field occasions so “there aren’t any remoted weeks, creating a robust cadence for gamers and followers alike.”

“This schedule is designed to permit prime performers the pliability to take part in each Designated and Full-Field occasions,” Monahan wrote. “Full-Field occasions will turn into extra consequential as they permit new and upcoming stars to rise to the highest and provides the membership a capability to play their manner into the Designated occasions.”

In one other change authorized by the board, the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii will embrace the highest 50 gamers from the earlier 12 months’s FedEx Cup factors record by the playoffs, plus event winners from the earlier 12 months, together with fall occasions.

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