On Wednesday ahead of the (PGA) Tour Championship, Commissioner Jay Monahan announced the latest piles of cash the Tour was dangling in front of its biggest stars as it competes for talent with LIV Golf.
In short, the headline coming out of Atlanta is this: the PGA Tour announced a 17-tournament series within the 2023 schedule, which will include purses totaling over $340 million, and fields comprised of every “top player” on Tour.
Other components include a commitment from these “top players” to compete in all 17 of the elite events and at least three other Tour events per year, totaling 20; an expansion of the secretive Player Impact Program (PIP); a guaranteed league-minimum annual earnings for full Tour members; and a travel stipend for missed cuts.
“Our top players are firmly behind the (PGA) Tour,” said Monahan, who was handed the keys to the monopoly in 2017.
“Helping us deliver an unmatched product to our fans, who will be all but guaranteed to see the best players competing against each other in 20 events or more throughout the season.”
Rory McIlroy, who recently criticized LIV Golf for “throwing around money,” added, “When I tune into a Tampa Bay Buccaneers game, I expect to see Tom Brady throw a football. When I tune into a Formula 1 race, I expect to see Lewis Hamilton in a car.
“Sometimes what’s happened on the PGA Tour is we all act independently and we sort of have our own schedules, and that means that we never really get together all that often.
“I think what came out of the meeting last week and what Jay just was up here announcing is the fact that we’ve all made a commitment to get together more often to make the product more compelling.”
Ironically, it was Monahan, himself, who criticized the LIV Golf model that McIlroy is now selling as a groundbreaking idea by the PGA Tour.
“Those (LIV) players have chosen to sign multiyear lucrative contracts to play in a series of exhibition matches against the same players over and over again,” said Monahan on Sunday, June 12, during the final round of the Canadian Open.
Here’s a closer look at the PGA Tour’s latest changes due to the threat from LIV Golf:
- The Tour’s marquee names will commit to at least a 20-event PGA Tour schedule in 2023 which includes a mandatory 17-stop series of elite events and three smaller tournaments of their choosing:
- Sentry Tournament of Champions (Jan) – $15 million
- The Genesis Invitational (Feb) – $20 million
- Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard (Mar) – $20 million
- The Players Championship (Mar) – $25 million
- WGC-Dell Match Play Championship (Mar) – $20 million
- The Masters (Apr) – $20 million
- PGA Championship (May) – $20 million
- the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday (June) – $20 million
- U.S. Open (June) – $20 million
- The Open Championship (July) – $20 million
- FEC-FedEx St Jude Championship (Aug) – $20 million
- FEC-BMW Championship (Aug) – $20 million
- FEC-Tour Championship (Aug) – $20 million
- 4 additional Elevated Events (TBD) – $20 million each
- 3 PGA Tour at-large events of players choosing
- For the 2022-23 season, a “top player” will be defined as:
- Players who finish in the top 20 under the current PIP (Player Impact Program)
- Players who finish in the top 20 under the revised PIP criteria
- Revised algorithm:
- Internet Searches
- General Awareness
- Golf Fan Awareness
- Media Mentions
- Broadcast Exposure
- Expansion of the Player Impact Program
- Reward 20 players a total (up from 10) for 2022 and 2023
- Total bonus pool of $100 million (previously announced as $50 million) in 2022 and 2023
- For 2022, any player on the revised criteria list who is not on the current criteria list will receive a payout equal to 20th position (most likely two or three players)
- Players will receive their PIP bonus at the end of the season after competing in the 12 Elevated Events and three non-elevated events, as outlined above
- Launch of “Earnings Assurance Program”
- For fully exempt members (Korn Ferry Tour category and above)
- Guaranteed league minimum of $500,000 per player (TOUR funds any gaps in earnings)
- Rookies and returning members will receive money up front
- Must participate in 15 events
- Travel Stipend Program
- For non-exempt members (126-150 category and below)
- Receive $5,000 for every missed cut
- Subsidizes travel and tournament-related expenses
- Does not impact tournament purses