PGA Tour plans to add eight  million tournaments in 2023 as attempt to combat LIV Golf, per report

PGA Tour plans to add eight $20 million tournaments in 2023 as attempt to combat LIV Golf, per report

The PGA Tour has responded — a number of times and in a variety of ways — to the upstart LIV Golf. Their latest counter to LIV ripping away a handful of stars and multi-time major winners is a reported plan to add an eight-event schedule to the annual calendar with a grand total purse of $160 million up for grabs among the top 50 players from the previous season.

According to Golf Digest, the PGA Tour will likely overlay presently scheduled events with these eight tournaments spread throughout the season.

Starting next year, the PGA Tour schedule will include eight limited-field no-cut events, with purses of $20 million or more each, for the top 50 finishers in the prior season’s FedEx Cup standings. Some of those events will be in the heart of the season, while others will be in the fall. Those outside the top 50 will compete in an alternate series of tournaments, where they will fight to keep their cards and earn better status for the following season.

This change in structure would happen in conjunction with the tour returning to a season based on the calendar year, something Golf Digest has reported was being considered. The tour switched from a calendar-based schedule to a wraparound campaign in 2013-14.

This move would create tournaments that are effectively the same as the World Golf Championship events, which were created two decades ago. There would be twice as many of these big-money events as there are WGCs, and these would be more difficult to get into because they’re limited to the top 50 from the previous season’s FedEx Cup.

Still, the effect is the same. It’s a direct monetary rebuttal to LIV Golf, which is planning double-digit $25 million tournaments next year ($20 million to individuals, $5 million to teams).

What’s fascinating is how much money is being bandied about here. The only event on the PGA Tour that is currently equivalent to this purse size is the Players Championship, which distributes $20 million. The biggest current major championship purse is the US Open, which just pumped its number to $17.5 million at Brookline.

This is essentially how other sports leagues work. Players get paid during the regular season and then go make history in the playoffs.

The other interesting part to this development is that there has not been any apparent push from players for this. Part of the allure of LIV Golf is that golfers can play fewer events for more guaranteed money in the form of contracts. It doesn’t matter where Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau finish at LIV Golf events because they get paid either way. This move by the PGA Tour would potentially see stars play more tournaments than they already play — depending on how many current events are simply elevated and how many are added into the year — for no contractually guaranteed money at all.

“I think there’s enough programs in place that benefit the top players’ pockets, the PIP program, the Comcast Top-10, the FedExCup bonus, all of those things are designed to funnel more money into the top players’ pockets,” said Rory McIlroy at the Wells Fargo Championship last month. “You play the best, and the cream should rise to the top by the end of the year. That’s why Comcast Top-10, FedExCup bonus money is so high. And then you add the PIP in there for the people that make the biggest impact on the Tour.”

Now, top players might have to add to their schedules to build up their regular-season wealth. Part of the reason for this is that the PGA Tour is a 501c(6) organization, which means it is tax exemption and thus must get creative with how it pays its constituents.

This new eight-tournament league within a league introduction is part of that, and it should help take care of the best players monetarily, which the PGA Tour believes will likely quell the outflow of players to LIV Golf.

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