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August 22, 2022

PGA Tour hires Gore in player relations role, ‘considers’ ditching non-profit status

Gore will be tasked with strengthening the tour's relationship with members.

By Tariq Saleh

US golf’s PGA Tour has hired former player Jason Gore to assist with player relations amid the defection of several members to the rival breakaway LIV Golf series.

Gore has been named as the senior vice president and player advisor to commissioner Jay Monahan. He will serve as a player advocate who will “continue to strengthen the relationship between the tour and its membership.”

Reporting directly to Monahan, the former PGA Tour member will initially assist the commissioner and the tour’s senior leadership in developing “long-range, player-focused strategies that align with the unique needs of the tour’s players.”

Monahan called the move “an important part of our evolution in further integrating our players into the business of the tour.”

Gore joins the tour from the United States Golf Association (USGA) where he served in a similar role for the past three years and was largely credited with improving the strained relationship between the organization and its players.

The 48-year-old won on both the PGA Tour and Korn Ferry Tour during a two-decade playing career.

Monahan said: “We are thrilled to welcome the Gore back to the tour and know Jason’s work will have a profound impact on our efforts to continually serve our players and elevate our organization.

“The addition of his perspective and experience in conjunction with our team’s existing knowledge will contribute greatly to this next chapter of the tour’s success.”

The appointment of Gore comes just days after Tiger Woods and 21 other top players held a players-only meeting ahead of the BMW Championship to discuss the threat of the LIV series and a plan of action.

It is believed that the group will present their ideas to Monahan and the rest of the tour leadership for further review.

Gore’s appointment was welcomed by Rory McIlroy, a player director on the PGA Tour Policy Board. McIlroy credited Gore with improving the players' relationship with the USGA, saying it had done "a complete 180" and that Gore had played a "massive" part in the improvement.

Several high-profile players have defected from the tour to join the Saudi-backed LIV Golf in recent months including Phil Mickelson, Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson, Ian Poulter, Patrick Reed, Sergio Garcia, Graeme McDowell, and Martin Kaymer.

It has been reported that LIV will announce seven new players ahead of its upcoming third event in Boston next week (September 2 to 4).

World number two and current British Open champion Cameron Smith is widely expected to be among LIV’s new recruits along with Australian compatriot Marc Leishman.

Meanwhile, the PGA Tour will reportedly consider giving up its non-profit status to compete financially with LIV.

The move is being supported by Woods and McIlroy and was among the main subjects discussed at the players-only meeting, according to golf outlet the Fire Pit Collective.

Part of that plan was having the PGA Tour renounce its non-profit status which would result in it paying taxes but having more freedom in how it conducts business, including bringing in private investors and equity firms.

The report also revealed the players discussed plans for an 18-tournament series that would feature 60 of the top players playing for $20 million purses.

The PGA Tour has already increased prize money at many of its events in response to the LIV circuit which is offering $25 million purses.

According to the Fire Pit Collective, the plan would be a no-cut format similar to LIV.

Elsewhere, the Asian Tour has added tournaments in Morocco and Egypt to its International Series.

The event in Morocco will be played at Royal Golf Dar Essalam, in Rabat, from November 3-6, followed by the tournament in Egypt a week later at Madinaty Golf Club in Cairo, from November 10-13.

Both events will have prize money of $1.5 million.

The Asian Tour season is due to be completed in the month of December with several additional events to be announced in due course.

The International Series was launched earlier this year thanks to a new partnership between the Asian Tour and LIV Golf to grow the game in Asia and the Middle East.

The series began in Thailand in March and has since visited Korea, Singapore, and England – the tour’s first-ever tournament in the UK.

Further events will be held in Vietnam, the Middle East, China, and Hong Kong. The addition of the International Series events in Morocco and Egypt means this year’s Asian Tour schedule is on target to offer at least 20 events this season.

LIV has committed $300 million for the series, which represents one of the biggest investments in the history of professional golf.

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