When there was doubt about the brewing of venom between the PGA Tour and the rival LIV Golf Invitational Series, the final salvo was delivered Wednesday by the breakaway circuit.
Just as PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan unveiled raised wallets, a renewed schedule and dramatic changes to the FedEx Cup Playoffs, LIV Golf released a news release confirming that four-time grand champion Brooks Koepka had moved to the new circuit that was funded by Saudi Arabia. Public investment fund.
“Like I said to the players [on Tuesday], let me be clear: I’m not naive, “Monahan said during a press conference at the Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Connecticut. The PGA Tour, an American institution, can not compete with a foreign monarchy that spends billions in an attempt to buy the game dollars of golf.
“We welcome good, healthy competition. The LIV Saudi Golf League is not that. It’s an irrational threat, one not dealing with return on investment or true growth of the game.”
Koepka, an eight-time tournament winner who has earned nearly $ 38 million in his career, is the latest member of the PGA Tour to be drawn by a sign-up bonus of more than $ 100 million, sources told ESPN. He joins other big winners Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed among the defectors.
“At present, no single organization owns or dominates the game of golf,” Monahan said. “Instead, the various entities, whether it be Augusta National or the USGA or the LPGA or the PGA Tour or the PGA of America, work together to meet our own respective priorities, but with the best interests of the game in general. .
“But when someone tries to buy the sport, the institutions that are intrinsically invested dismantle their growth, and focus only on a personal priority, that partnership evaporates, and instead we end up with one person, one entity, with endless resources. “Money employees, not members or partners, focus on their personal goal, which may or may not change tomorrow or the next day. I doubt that is the vision that one of us has for the game.”
In a memo sent to players on Wednesday, the PGA Tour detailed approximately $ 54 million in scholarship increases for eight existing tournaments: Sentry Tournament of Champions (from $ 8.2 million to $ 15 million), The Genesis Invitational, Arnold Palmer Invitational, WGC -Dell Technologies Match Play and The Memorial Tournament ($ 12 million to $ 20 million), The Players ($ 20 million to $ 25 million), FedEx St. Jude Championship and BMW Championship ($ 15 million to $ 20 million).
“These increases will be funded by sponsor support and supplemented in the short term by the operating reserve,” Monahan said in the memo. “Please note that these amendments to the Resource Allocation do not affect the previously announced increase in prize money at other events.”
The PGA Tour returns to a calendar year schedule, with the FedEx Cup season taking place between January and August.
The tour also plans to add three events in a global golf series that will have wallets worth as much as $ 25 million and fields consisting of the top 50 players from last season’s FedEx Cup points standings. Those events, which will rotate in cities in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, could be added to the 2024 schedule.
The tour also adjusts the field size for the FedEx Cup Playoffs, with the top 70 players qualifying for the first event at the FedEx St. Jude Championship, the top 50 at the BMW Championship and the top 30 at the Tour Championship at East Lake in Atlanta. Earlier, the top 125 qualified for the first event, 70 in the second and 30 in the third.
In advance, only the top 70 on the points list will be fully released next season, including the invitations with increased wallets. Those who end up outside the top 50 in the future can play in autumn events to earn a place in the invitations or stay in the top 125 to maintain their tour tickets and priority status.
World No. 1 golfer Scottie Scheffler said he was impressed by the changes the PGA Tour has proposed.
“The money we have on the PGA Tour, I never dreamed of playing for as much money as I do now,” Scheffler said. “I do not know how much money I have made this year, but it is definitely more than I earn for whacking a little white golf ball. For me, the memories I have played on this tour and the dreams I have of wanting to this tour, it can not be replaced by anything financial.
“Money is money, and it’s not something I try to control how I live my life.”