After months of defending against LIV Golf’s advances in professional golf, the PGA Tour took a step back on Wednesday when commissioner Jay Monahan unveiled an improved schedule beginning next year.
The highlight of the announcement, which was sent to players in a memo ahead of the Commissioner’s press conference at the Travelers Championship, is a significant increase in the purse to eight events, including the Sentry Tournament of Champions (15 million dollars), Genesis Invitational ($20 million), Arnold Palmer Invitational ($20 million), Players Championship ($25 million), Dell Technologies WGC-Match Play, Memorial ($20 million), FedEx St. Jude Championship ($20 million) and BMW Championship ($20 million).
In total, this represents a $54 million increase in purses among these events. Monahan said the increases will be funded by sponsor support and supplemented by the operating reserve.
“We plan to collect scholarships for these events in the future,” Monahan said. “The decision we make at the start of 2023, there is no doubt that one of the things we are looking to do is to ensure that our best events are maximized both in terms of consequences and financial investment, and this is an acceleration of that.
The announcement was seen as a direct response to the Saudi-backed LIV Golf program, which began earlier this month in London and includes eight events with $20 million in individual scholarships and $5 million additional for the team component.
In the memo, Monahan also outlined a new three-event international series in the fall for top players with similarly sized scholarships. These events would take place in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East and would feature some sort of team aspect. The format is still under study.
Although the first full year of the calendar year schedule begins in 2024, the changes will take effect in 23 as the memo further details significant adjustments to how players maintain their Tour status.
Currently, the top 125 on the regular season points list qualify for the playoffs and retain their status for next season. But the 2023 playoffs will feature three postseason tournaments, with only the top 70 players qualifying for the first playoff event (FedEx St. Jude Championship). The top 50 will advance to the second elimination round (BMW Championship), with the top 30 earning a spot in the season finale at East Lake.
Beginning with the 2022-23 schedule, the top 70 before the playoffs will retain their cards. The fall 2023 events will offer those not in the top 70 a chance to add FedExCup points and finish the year in the top 125, which will secure status for the following season.
The drop will be open to all players, including those who qualify for the playoffs. Those who finished the playoffs outside the top 50 will be able to compete for spots in the International Series, in addition to those who will fight for their cards.