Faced with money, more money. The American golf circuit, the PGA Tour, has counterattacked this Wednesday against the continuous flight of its ranks of players towards the millionaire Saudi league with the only weapon that seemed to be effective: the dollar. The commissioner, Jay Monahan, has announced that eight tournaments will considerably increase the economic prizes that they will distribute in 2023, in addition to changing the calendar and creating three new appointments for a small group of golfers with a succulent extra reward.
Players, a tournament considered the fifth big one, will raise the prizes it distributes from 20 to 25 million (the same amount that each tournament in the Saudi league now awards; four million for the winner); the Sentry Tournament of Champions almost doubles the amount, from 8.2 to 15 million; from 12 to 20 pass the Genesis Invitational, Arnold Palmer Invitational, WGC Dell Technologies Match Play and Memorial Tournament; and from 15 to 20 the BMW Championship and the FedEx St. Jude Championship. This high will be possible, according to Monahan, thanks to the funds of the circuit and an increase in the contribution of the sponsors.
Monahan also announced the return to a full calendar year calendar in 2024. The FedEx Cup tournaments (the classification that names the best golfer of the course on the American circuit) will be played between January and August, and next year is already established. a new system of progressive reduction of the participants in its playoffs: The top 70 will play the first date, the FedEx St. Jude Championship. From there, the top 50 will go on to the BMW Championship; and 30 will fight for the final crown in the Tour Championship. The 70 qualified for the first playoff will be exempt for the following season, including tournaments invitationals. Those who stay out of this cut will be able to add points in the autumn tournaments until completing the 125 best golfers who will line up in the next course.
To round it off, the PGA Tour will celebrate three international tournaments, without a court (such as the Saudi league, which is played over three days) and with a limited number of golfers, which will take place with the top 50 of the FedEx Cup and the best of the fall appointments, and will be located at the end of the calendar. Another pinch for the wallets.
The PGA expelled the rebels from its competitions who changed sides and signed up for the LIV Golf Series, a set of eight tournaments between June and October that will distribute a total of 255 million dollars, a mountain of gold well above the already high prizes on the American circuit. But the measure did not shake the powerful Saudi league or other golfers who have followed the same path in recent days. Dustin Johnson, Sergio García and Phil Mickelson, present at the opening event in London, have recently been joined by Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed and, this week, Brooks Koepka and Abraham Ancer, world numbers 19 and 20, respectively. Koepka, whose brother Chase was already enrolled in the Saudi league, has won four majors (two US Open and two PGA) and Ancer is the great Mexican star. They will all be present at the second league tournament, in Portland from June 30 to July 2, whose roster of 48 players has been announced this Wednesday (there are the Spanish Sergio García and Adrian Otaegui).
Greg Norman, CEO of LIV Golf, has confirmed that he has 2,000 million dollars to raise the series to 10 tournaments in 2023 and 14 in 2024. Given the trickle of escaped players and the prospect of more important stars leaving , the PGA Tour has scratched its pocket just after the US Open, played this past week, already raised 3.15 million prize for the winner, the biggest check in the history of the greats (it was taken by the Englishman Matt Fitzpatrick). Also this Wednesday, the British Open confirmed that the Saudi league rebels qualified for the major British, which will take place from July 14 to 17 in Saint Andrews (150th edition of the tournament), will have no impediment to participate.
“I am not naive. If this is a war and the only weapon is dollars, the PGA Tour, an American institution, cannot compete with a monarchy that spends millions trying to buy golf,” Monahan explained before the start of the Travelers Championship on Wednesday. . “There is more work to be done and details to be confirmed, but the implementation of substantial changes to our schedule gives us the best opportunity to not only drive earnings for our players, but also to improve our product and create a platform for continued growth in the future. On the PGA Tour our members compete for the opportunity to add their names to the history books and, yes, for significant economic benefits, without having to deal with any kind of moral ambiguity”, added the commissioner on the Saudi sovereign wealth fund, that waters this Super League with millions. “That’s the beauty of the PGA Tour. We have provided a global platform for members to compete against the best and earn stardom.” Also, from now on, more money.