The 5 Talking Points Of The New Look PGA Tour

We highlight the big talking points from PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan’s pre-tournament press conference which was laid out to combat the threat of LIV Golf. Following the players’ meeting at the BMW Championship some sweeping changes lie ahead.

1 Starting next season the top players (those who finish in the top 20 under the current Player Impact Program) will commit to competing in at least 20 PGA Tour events per year and and, with 12 of them being 'elevated events', the onus is on the best players to be in the same field more often which is great for TV, interest and bundles of world ranking points – something that LIV can't offer.

Jay says: 'To me it's the headline, our top players are making a commitment to play in all 12 elevated events, as well as The Players Championship, the Masters tournament, the PGA Championship, the US Open and The Open Championship. They will also add at least three additional PGA TOUR events to their schedules.
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.'

2 The controversial Player Impact Program rewards the players with the biggest reach, be it on social media or on TV. This previously rewarded 10 players but that will now be doubled with the money also doubling – so it's another way of funnelling a lot more cash in the direction of the big boys on tour.

Jay says: 'We've been committed to reassessing its effectiveness in identifying and rewarding the players who drive the most impact to the organisation. To that end, we are adjusting the criteria and expanding the program. The PIP will now reward 20 players, and we're doubling the payout from $50 million to $100 million effective with the 2022 final standings, and we're revising the criteria to better capture awareness from casual and core fans, removing the Q-school and social media metrics.

3 To keep everyone happy a new 'Earnings Assurance Program' initiative was launched where every member of the PGA Tour will receive $500,000 before the season starts to make playing on the tour even more appealing. In return the players need to make at least 15 starts.

Jay says: 'We're debuting in 2023 an earnings assurance program. This is an evolution of the Play 15 program. It provides a $500,000 league minimum to every fully exempt player with rookies being paid up front. We believe it meets the challenging dynamic of how players manage and invest in their careers, and it's comparable to how other leagues approach their athlete compensation.'

4 If all this was suddenly very appealing to the LIV players, would they be allowed back to their former workplace? In a word, no. They’ve made their bed and now they need to sleep in it.

Jay says: ‘They've joined the LIV Golf Series and they've made that commitment. For most of them, they've made multi-year commitments. As I've 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 that we control and get stronger and stronger.
I think they understand that.’

5 Where is all this money coming from with huge guaranteed purses of $20m+ and incentives to promote the tour and themselves?

Jay says: ‘The Tour is having its strongest year in history of the PGA Tour and is performing well ahead of budget. The Tour through the years has been very prudent in managing its finances and building reserves and being in a position to be able to invest in programs that are going to help the Tour grow. Additionally our partners, our sponsors, and all of our partners who want to get behind and are getting behind the direction that we’re going in, want to be a part of the continued growth and evolution of the Tour. They recognise that with the changes we’re talking about today, the changes that we’ve made prior to today, and the direction we’re heading in, we’re going to be creating more value. When you create more value, you’re going to get more income coming into the business.’