Pro Golf Weekly launched in 2016 and during this time the PGA Tour largely flowed from one season to the next with a few elite events sprinkled among a slate of mostly unmemorable corporate sponsored exhibitions. Sure, some of the tour events were more stacked (Hartford) and exciting (Phoenix) than others but rarely did the tour deliver fields with all its best players, similar to majors.
Everything changed, though, with the launch of LIV Golf in 2022.
After losing some of its most marketable and familiar stars (e.g. Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Cam Smith, Bryson DeChambeau, and Brooks Koepka, among many others), the tour immediately scheduled eight “elevated” events for 2023, featuring massive purses and stacked fields. In 2024 they are cementing what amounts to a LIV Golf league inside the PGA Tour, by reducing the field sizes and removing cuts (guaranteed payday).
These drastic changes never would have happened without the emergence of LIV Golf, a reality even LIV critic Rory McIlroy acknowledged.
“I’m not going to sit here and lie; I think the emergence of LIV, or the emergence of a competitor to the PGA Tour, has benefited everyone that plays elite professional golf,” said McIlroy, ahead of the PLAYERS Championship.
“I think when you’ve been the biggest golf league in the biggest market in the world for the last 60 years, there’s not a lot of incentive to innovate.
“This has caused a ton of innovation at the PGA Tour, and what was quite, I would say, an antiquated system is being revamped to try to mirror where we’re at in the world in the 21st century with the media landscape and just every — you know, the PGA Tour isn’t just competing with LIV Golf or other sports. It’s competing with Instagram and TikTok and everything else that’s trying to take eyeballs away from the PGA Tour as a product.
“So, yeah, you know, LIV coming along, it’s definitely had a massive impact on the game, but I think everyone who’s a professional golfer is going to benefit from it going forward.”
World No. 1 Jon Rahm concurred: “Oh, it’s LIV Golf. I mean, without a doubt. Without LIV Golf, this wouldn’t have happened.
“So to an extent, like I’ve said before, we should be thankful this threat has made the PGA Tour want to change things. I think I said it last week, as well; I wish it didn’t come to the PGA Tour being, you know, under fire from somebody else to make those changes and make things better for the players, but I guess it is what we needed.
“So, yeah, it is because of LIV Golf, otherwise we wouldn’t have seen any of this.”