Movement has been promised by every potential competitor on the PGA Tour that has emerged in recent years, but so far the only league that has done anything significant is the one that currently has the best players in the world. According to Golfweek, the PGA Tour plans to host big money events for its top stars who will receive guaranteed money for their appearance, no matter where they end up on the leaderboard.
This is synonymous with the current World Golf Championship events, except that money would supposedly be guaranteed whether a player wins or finishes 50th. In addition, the events would only take place internationally.
The tour intends to host between four and six events annually outside the United States in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. The series will start in the fall of 2023 at the earliest, but may not start before 2024. Details of the plan were confirmed at Golfweek by an industry manager familiar with the ongoing discussions. The executive requested anonymity as it was not empowered to discuss the matter publicly.
The PGA Tour has now taken several steps (or implied future steps) to hold its own against the Premier Golf League and Super Golf League, both of which were candidates to loot the PGA Tour’s most precious assets, notable golfers.
At the end of 2020, a strategic alliance was concluded with the European Tour, which led to a jointly sanctioned Scottish Open for 2022. The $ 40 million Player Impact Program was implemented earlier this season. It rewards players with a variety of measurable factors based on their popularity. The Players Championship budget was recently increased from $ 15 million to $ 20 million. The tour also recently launched a program where players can earn an additional $ 50,000 for playing at least 15 events in a given season.
And now that.
“I think with things like the Player Impact Program and wallets and everything that goes up, I think it will [stars being compensated appropriately]”Justin Thomas said last week.” It doesn’t matter what you do or what sport you play or whatever it is, there will always be a handful or group of people who are going to add revenue or interest. “
Will this all work for the PGA Tour? It is hard to imagine any other way. The PGA Tour sweetened the pot of the best players who could be lured into the deep Saudi pockets of the Super Golf League or the intrigue of team golf offered by the Premier Golf League. (Keep in mind that there are two different leagues vying for the attention of these players.)
The most pressing threat seems to be the Super Golf League, funded by Golf Saudi, which recently also helped fund LIV Golf Investments, where Greg Norman is the new CEO. LIV Golf is funding a 10-event series on the Asian Tour and has hired former PGA Tour Rules Official Slugger White as Vice President of Rules and Competition Management. Its investment in the Asian Tour is presumably separate from any super league it could form if it can attract enough top players. Norman would serve as the league’s commissioner in addition to his duties as CEO of LIV Golf.
This brings us back to the PGA Tour. Here is Golf Week again on what a fall slate might look like for the top players as the PGA Tour seeks to hold onto its superstars and pave a path into the future.
While internal discussions of details continue, preliminary plans include between four and six events, with fields limited to 50 or 60 participants and no half-time allowed. It has not yet been decided whether the fields will be determined by the official world golf ranking or the FedEx Cup ranking. Various format options are being examined, including the possibility of a team component.
All of this makes me think of Seth Waugh’s quotes from the PGA Championship in early 2021. Waugh is the CEO of the PGA of America (separate from the PGA Tour) which runs the PGA Championship and, along with the European Tour, the Ryder Cup. This is what the former CEO of Deutsche Bank Americas says about the competition.
“I come from a world of disruption, and I think it’s inevitable – I actually think it’s healthy,” Waugh said. “Either you disturb or you are disturbed. That’s it. … You know, should it be a hostile takeover of the game, that’s way too far in my opinion. t new, has been available in various forms since 2014; [it] created change. An alliance has emerged from the European Tour and the PGA Tour, which we think is very healthy for the game.
“I think you just have to be careful about what you want. If that’s a better way of seeing a game, whether it’s a team format or fewer players … they should talk about it as an industry and think about if ‘there is better ways to run tournaments, but I don’t think anything is very broken so I’m not sure what the solution really is for other than an outer body trying to disrupt the game and play in a way that I don’t think is in the … long-term interest of the game “
Waugh broadly spoke about outside threats to the PGA Tour, but the same general concept applies. The tour has seemingly strengthened its position, and now the question is whether it can improve its product at the same time as it spends money to protect itself from the competition.
It’s good that players are getting more money, at least on the surface, but such moves always come at a cost. It will be interesting to see how the tour is handling the situation and what reaction other proposed leagues may have to this news, if any. There was a lot of outside noise up to this point, but the PGA Tour was the only one moving.