ADVERTISEMENT

PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan says LIV Golf Invitational Series is an ‘unreasonable threat’ to the game

ADVERTISEMENT

If there was any doubt about the poison brewing between the PGA Tour and rival LIV Golf Invitational Series, the latest salvo was launched by the breakaway circuit on Wednesday.

Just as PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan was revealing bigger prize pools, a revamped schedule and dramatic changes to the FedEx Cup Playoffs, LIV Golf sent out a press release confirming that four-time Grand Slam champion Brooks Koepka, had defected to the new Saudi-funded circuit. Public Investment Fund.

“As I also told the players [on Tuesday], let me be clear: I’m not naive,” Monahan said during a news conference at the Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Connecticut. “If this is an arms race and if the only weapons here are dollar bills, the PGA Tour cannot to compete. The PGA Tour, an American institution, cannot compete with a foreign monarchy that is spending billions of dollars in an attempt to buy the game of golf.

ADVERTISEMENT

“We welcome some good and healthy competition. The LIV Saudi Golf League is not that. It is an irrational threat, not concerned with return on investment or true growth of the game.”

Koepka, an eight-time Tour winner who has earned nearly $38 million during his career, is the latest member of the PGA Tour to be lured by a signing bonus of more than $100 million, sources told ESPN. He joins other big winners Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed among the dropouts.

“Currently, no organization owns or dominates the game of golf,” Monahan said. “Instead, the various entities, whether it’s Augusta National or the USGA or the LPGA or the PGA Tour or the PGA of America, work together to meet our respective priorities, but in the best interests of the game as a whole.”

“But when someone tries to buy the sport, dismantle the institutions that are inherently invested in its growth, and focus only on a personal priority, that association evaporates and instead we end up with one person, one entity, using endless amounts of money. … to direct employees, not members or partners, towards their personal goal, which may or may not change tomorrow or the next day. I doubt that’s the vision any of us have for the game.”

In a memo sent to players Wednesday, the PGA Tour detailed about $54 million in purse increases for eight existing tournaments: Sentry Tournament of Champions ($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 resource allocation amendments do not affect previously announced prize increases at other events.”

The PGA Tour is returning 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 world series of golf that will feature purses worth up to $25 million and courses consisting of the top 50 players from the previous season’s FedEx Cup points standings. Those events, which will rotate in cities across Europe, Asia and the Middle East, could be added to the calendar in 2024.

The tour is also adjusting the field sizes for the FedEx Cup Playoffs, with the top 70 players qualifying for the first event in the FedEx St. Jude Championship, top 50 in the BMW Championship and top 30 in the Tour. Championship at East Lake. in atlanta Previously, the top 125 qualified for the first event, 70 for the second and 30 for the third.

Going forward, only the top 70 on the points list will be completely exempt next season, including guests with the biggest prizes. Those who finish outside the top 50 in the future can play in the fall events to earn a spot in the invitational tournaments or stay in the top 125 to keep their tour cards and priority status.

World No. 1 golfer Scottie Scheffler said he was impressed with the changes proposed by the PGA Tour.

“The money that we have on the PGA Tour, I never dreamed of playing for as much money as I do now,” Scheffler said. “I don’t know how much money I’ve made this year, but it’s definitely more than I deserve for hitting a little white golf ball. For me, the memories I have playing on this tour and the dreams I have of wanting to be on this tour, it cannot be replaced by anything financial.

“Money is money, and it’s not something I’m trying to let control how I live my life.”

sniloans