ATLANTA — PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan Announced another seriesThere were some major and lucrative changes Wednesday in the lead up to the season-ending Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club.
The PGA Tour, in its ongoing battle against LIV Golf for the best players around the world, committed $146 million more to its players to try to keep them.
Within a week, the changes take place. Tiger WoodsAnd Rory McIlroyLed a Meeting of 22 playersA hotel near Wilmington Country Club in Delaware. Monahan received the proposals from the players, and Monahan quickly implemented many of their suggestions.
Monahan said, It is atypical, however, I think when you are in a position like this, its understood.
Heres what we know so far about the PGA Tours 2022-23 season.
Monahan spoke of changes that affect top players . Who are they?
The PGA Tour defines top players as players who finish among the top 20 in Player Impact Program. To receive their PIP bonuses at seasons end, they will have to compete in the 13 elevated events if they are eligible.
The 2022-23 wraparound season will see the top 20 players from the current PIP formula as well as the revised one.
What are the high-profile events?
There are 13 events that will be elevated and include top players: The FedEx Cup Playoffs events (FedEx St. Jude Championships, BMW Championships and Tour Championship), Genesis Invitational and Arnold Palmer Invitational), Memorial Tournament, WGC–Dell Technologies Match Play and Sentry Tournament of Champions. The Players also has four events from existing PGA Tour tournaments.
Who will play in the new, elevated tournaments?
These details are still being worked out. Its not clear if they will include the top 70 players who are PGA Tour members, top 50 or top 30. Or maybe somewhere in between.
The revised Player Impact Program will define the top 20 players , which could be exempted if they are popular, including Woods, and dont play in the required events.
If they are eligible, the top players can also compete in the four major championships: the Masters, PGA Championships, U.S Open and The Open. There are also three additional PGA Tour events.
McIlroy stated that if you want to sell a product to sponsors and TV, you must at least let people know what youre playing for. When I tune in to a Tampa Bay Buccaneers match, I expect to see the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tom BradyThrow a football. I expect to see Lewis Hamilton driving a car when I tune in to a Formula 1 race.
Sometimes, whats happened on PGA Tour is that we all act independently and have our own schedules. That means that we rarely get together all that often.
Can the PGA Tour entice players who have left LIV Golf to play with these changes?
Many players signed multi-year contracts with LIV Golf, even if they wanted to return. The best players, including former major champions. Brooks Koepka, Dustin JohnsonAnd Phil MickelsonAccording to some reports, they have signed deals that included signing bonuses ranging from $100 million to $200 millions. The PGA Tours aggressive changes wouldnt have any impact on their financial bottom line.
Monahan was also blunt when he was asked Wednesday if a LIV Golf player who had defected to Monahan and was considering leaving after seeing the PGA Tours improvements might be allowed to return. Would the suspension be lifted?
No, Monahan said. They have joined the LIV Golf series, and theyve made that promise. Theyve most likely made multi-year commitments. As I have been clear throughout the game, every player has a choice. While I respect their choice and I appreciate their effort, they have made it. We have made our choice. We will continue to be focused on the things we can control and grow stronger.
McIlroy hoped that players would stick with the PGA Tour because of the increased purses, and the additional events. McIlroy revealed that he had spoken to the Open Championship winner. Cameron SmithTwo days after he lifted St. Andrews Claret Jug, he was still at it. Smith, along with six to seven other players, is reportedly on the verge of leaving for LIV Golf shortly after the PGA Tour regular seasons ends.
McIlroy stated, Guys who think one way or the other, honestly I don’t care if it’s a matter of whether they leave or not. It doesnt matter to me. But I want people to be informed and know whats in store. This is what you might be missing. I dont want people making difficult decisions. [when theyre]You may not hear information from the other side, but you will hear it from the one side.
How will the Player Impact Program affect you?
The PGA Tour has increased the number of players who will receive the money ($50 million to $100 millions) and doubled the amount of money that will go to them. They have also adjusted the formula for how players will be judged on their impact on tour — or their popularity. Phil Mickelson suggested that Tiger Woods had won PIP last year and that Tiger Woods finished first.
Monahan claimed that the winner in 2022 or 2023 will receive a bonus of $15 million.
In September 2021, the tour hired a research company to conduct an expanded player awareness survey . This was to examine data for more players and track awareness results among fans.
Additionally we identified significant changes social media platform engagement, specifically around the way people engage with this medium and which platforms are currently most popular and what date it is available for measurement, the tour stated in a statement. Social media is also a driver for awareness. A players level or engagement is a driver for their awareness score.
The study will result in two separate awareness scores being added to the list, and the social media component being eliminated. The players will be assessed by internet searches, general awareness and golf fan awareness, media mentions, broadcast exposure, and media mentions.
Ultimately, and I know this from people far smarter that me, its our data analytics team, whos invested a lot of effort and time into this. [senior vice president for data science and technology solutions] Mike Vitti in particular, Monahan said. When you look at social media index, social networks and all the platforms are constantly changing, your ability to measure them becomes more difficult. Some are included in the index, while others are not.
Rory McIlroy believes it was amazing experience to have Tiger Woods and his presence at the table to discuss the future prospects of the PGA Tour.
These changes will create more division on the PGA Tour.
The PGA Tour has been driven by superstars since its inception. Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gary PlayerTiger Woods. The sports most prominent names are those that sell tickets and draw sponsors, advertisers, and TV partners.
Rory McIlroy explained that This isn’t some sort renegade group trying take some sort power grab of the PGA Tour. This is a discussion about how we can make the tour more enjoyable for everyone who plays on it now, and everyone who will continue to play on the PGA Tour.
McIlroy insists every member of PGA Tour will be able to compete in the higher events and earn a lot in the Player Impact Program if their performance on the course is good.
The reason why were doing this is that were trying build a future tour. [and for]McIlroy stated that McIlroy is looking for young, ambitious players who want to be the best in the game. The PGA Tour is the place to be if you want to be the best in the game. It is a pure meritocracy. These events are open to all men. There is nothing stopping men from participating in the PIP. You play better. You play better if your body is working hard.
Monahan agreed with Monahan that there was a clear path for younger players in order to break into the top echelon.
Monahan stated, Ultimately, to have the greatest impact on an organization, it starts from your competitive success on a field of play. When you have success in competition, you are more visible on television, people follow you more, you are telling more stories about these athletes, and you are becoming more well-known to golf fans, sports fans, and the general public.
Where will the new events take place?
Monahan stated that the tour was still working out details around those events. He said that the elevated events will likely rotate through existing PGA Tour competitions in the U.S.
Monahan stated, When we come back to announce what were doing in those four events, where theyre being played, what the eligibility requirements for, what field sizes, these are all the things that we will be working through over 45 to 60 days. Well have the ability to answer that uniformly.
With the four elevated events rotating through the other existing ones, such as the WM Phoenix Open or AT&T Bryon Nelson, those tournaments would have stronger fields than theyve had in the past when top players skipped them.
Jordan Spieth stated that he believes that all members will benefit and the tour as a whole. I believe sponsors will benefit, and I think that every tournament will see a better field no matter how many times it occurs.
How did the PGA Tour manage to raise all this money?
The PGA Tour has already committed $99.8 million to the next seasons purses by introducing four additional elevated events. After previously pledging $48.8 million to increase purses for the FedEx Cup Playoff events Sentry Tournament of Champions and Genesis Invitational, Memorial Tournament, Arnold Palmer Invitational and WGC-Dell Technology Match Play, the tour estimates that the four new elevated tournaments will result in an increase of approximately $46 million.
This doesnt include the $100,000,000 the tour pledged would double the money received through PIP 2022 and 2023.
So where is all the money coming from? Jay Monahan claimed that the money comes from three primary sources: an increase in revenue from the 2021-22 seasons, reserves, sponsors and partners.
Monahan stated, This year were in, it is having its strongest year ever in the history of the PGA Tour. It is also performing well ahead budget. Secondly, the tour has been extremely prudent in managing its finances over the years and building reserves so that it can invest in programs that will help the tour grow. Thats why theyre there, and thats why well continue to use them.
In February 2005, Phil Mickelson was still a member on the PGA Tour. He criticized the tour for its obnoxious greed in controlling media rights and, among other things. Although Mickelson may have valid points, the six-time major champion probably didn’t air his grievances in the right way.
Rory McIlroy stated that Phil was trying to make certain points, even though I dont want any credit for it. But there is a way to get around them. There is a way to work together. You bring together all the top players from the world and you get them on one page. You then go on the tour together, you offer ideas and you collaborate. This was pure collaboration.
Will the changes impact the tax-exempt status for the PGA Tour?
Many people speculated that the PGA Tour would renounce the status of a nonprofit organization after the players-only meeting in Delaware. This would have allowed it generate more cash to compete with LIV Golf. The PGA Tour is a tax exempt 501(c),6 organization. Transforming into a for-profit entity could have cost it between $50m and $75m in taxes each year.
In a court filing, the PGA Tours lawyers claimed that 98% are given to charities, players, or tournaments each year in response to a federal Antitrust lawsuit by three LIV golf players.
Jay Monahan stated, The 501(c),6 status and the integrity thereof and all that it does for us… thats always going be a central fabric of who we are as an organisation.
Monahan suggested that the tour might consider creating for-profit subsidiaries such as the one formed by Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods and the PGA Tour. Woods and McIlroy are launching a new tech-infused league that will see players play on three-man teams, on a virtual golf course, in January 2024.