Lotttt to digest here as I stand at the back of the media tent at East Lake punching away on my phone. PGA Tour commish Jay Monahan had to do something, especially in light of Tiger coming in last week and rallying the troops.
This is monumental stuff. The Tour has always been heavily structured as a meritocracy. You gotta earn your way into the club and once you’re there, you gotta play well to get the dough. That hasn’t changed much. But the scales have been tipped. The top guys are going to be able to separate themselves and earn top dollar, as they should.
The most important thing in my eyes is that they’re adding 4 more elevated non-major/non-Players Championship events to the 8 elevated events that already exist. Those 8 were announced earlier this summer as the 3 playoff events, the Genesis, the Arnold Palmer, the Memorial, the Match Play, and the Tournament of Champions. So that’s 12 big time events PLUS the 4 majors and the PLAYERS Championship to bring the must-see TV total to 17. By the way, it’s brilliant (maybe coincidentally) that they haven’t announced what the 4 new ones are because that gives the sponsors of alllll these other tournaments to jump into a bidding war to be a part of the unofficial PGA Super Tour. Somebody’s gotta foot the bill for all these changes, right?
All of this is fantastic for golf fans. Rory has pounded the table repeatedly throughout this saga that the best players on Tour need to be playing together more often. That wasn’t happening enough with a schedule with 8 or so big time events and then about 40 others that top players would choose to play with mostly no rhyme or reason. These changes accomplish that and incentivize those players more appropriately.
The other big change is the guaranteed dough for the guys towards the bottom of the Tour totem pole. $500k guaranteed is HUGE for the grinders on Tour and so is the $5k stipend for missed cuts. They had to throw the lesser guys a bone and this is a big win for them.
Say what you will about LIV, but they forced this to happen. That’s undeniable so in that regard, they’ve been good for golf fans. They’ve forced the PGA Tour to better themselves and compensate their players better, which should have happened a long time ago as TV rights and popularity of the game as a whole have exploded. But as a whole… LIV still divided a lot of the world’s best players so their venture is an overall loss to the golf world.
Today though, we’re headed in a better direction.
As always, more to come…