PGA Tour overhauls schedule, player compensation amid LIV threat

by Jacob Fuller


The PGA Tour’s top golfers have committed to competing against each other on a more regular basis while the bonus pool for players who positively impact the game was doubled to $100 million, Commissioner Jay Monahan said on Wednesday.

The changes represent the PGA Tour’s most serious response to the threat posed by the Saudi Arabia-backed LIV Golf series that launched in June and has lured some big-name players away from the U.S.-based circuit with staggering sums of money.

In announcing the changes, Monahan said he was inspired by the PGA Tour members and singled out those who held a players-only meeting last week to discuss a number of proposals in the face of the LIV Golf threat.

“It’s important to understand that this process represents a remarkable moment for the PGA Tour and showcases the essence of what being a membership organization is all about,” Monahan said ahead of the season-ending Tour Championship in Atlanta.

“Those players rallied together to strengthen the tour platform, recognizing that if fans are going to invest in the PGA Tour it means a hell of a lot more if they know the players are investing right back.”

The changes require top golfers, assuming they qualify, to play at least a 20-event schedule consisting of the four majors, The Players Championship, 12 “elevated events” with average purses of $20 million, and at least three other PGA Tour events of the player’s choosing.

For the 2022-23 season, a “top player” will be defined as those who finish in the top 20 under the current Player Impact Program as well as those who finish in the top 20 under the revised criteria for the bonus pool.

“Our top players are firmly behind the Tour, helping us deliver an unmatched product to our fans, who will be all but guaranteed to see the best players competing against each other in 20 events or more throughout the season,” said Monahan.

“This is an extraordinary and unprecedented commitment, a testament to who these guys are and what they believe in.”

The PGA Tour’s Player Impact Program, which was implemented in 2021 as a way to compensate the 10 players judged through a series of metrics to drive the most fan and sponsor engagement, will reward 20 players for 2022 and 2023.

Eligible players who do not compete in the minimum required number of tournaments will be ineligible to receive any payout as part of the Player Impact Program.

So far, LIV Golf has scooped five of the players who finished among the top 10 of the inaugural Player Impact Program, a group that consists of Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, and Bubba Watson.

When asked if players who joined LIV might want to return to the PGA Tour after seeing the latest changes, Monahan said he would not lift their suspensions.

“No. They’ve joined the LIV Golf Series and they’ve made that commitment. For most of them they’ve made multi-year commitments,” said Monahan.

“As I have been clear throughout, every player has a choice, and I respect their choice, but they’ve made it. We’ve made ours. We’re going to continue to focus on the things we can control and get stronger and stronger.

“I think they understand that.”

Among the other changes is an “earnings assurance program” that guarantees players at the developmental Korn Ferry Tour priority category and above will earn at least $500,000.

The PGA Tour also said it will launch a travel stipend program that will see players receive $5,000 for every missed cut for non-exempt members.

Copyright 2022 Thomson/Reuters