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June 22, 2022

PGA Tour plans revamp to ward off LIV threat as Koepka set to join series

US golf’s PGA Tour is seeking to revamp its schedule and increase prize money at marquee events to combat the threat of the Saudi-backed LIV Golf series which continues to attract some of its star players.

By Tariq Saleh

US golf’s PGA Tour is seeking to revamp its schedule and increase prize money at marquee events to combat the threat of the Saudi-backed LIV Golf series which continues to attract some of its star players.

Commissioner Jay Monahan reportedly unveiled plans to increase the purses to $20 million in at least eight existing major events in the regular season and establish a new, lucrative fall schedule for the top 50 finishers in the FedEx Cup standings.

The tour will also seek to introduce three new events in a global golf series that will include no cuts – similar to LIV – limited fields, and prize funds of at least $25 million.

The details are still being finalized and are subject to change but the overhaul of the PGA Tour schedule is expected to be approved for 2023, as LIV Golf continues to poach former major champions and other players from the tour.

PGA Tour members were told of the new plans in a meeting at the Travelers Championship on Tuesday (June 21) ahead of this week’s tournament in Connecticut. The tour's players advisory committee and its policy board would still have to approve the changes.  

Monahan is expected to speak with the media today (June 22) and could confirm the tour’s new plans.

The PGA Tour is looking to act as it is set to lose another high-profile player to LIV as Brooks Kopeka has reportedly agreed to join the series.

The four-time major winner is expected to feature in the second LIV Golf Invitational Series in Portland next week.

The 32-year-old will become the latest big name to join the field following Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, and Phil Mickelson, and has already withdrawn from Thursday’s (June 23) Travelers Championship.

LIV, which is backed by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, also announced on Tuesday that world number 20 Abraham Ancer has joined the series and will play in Portland, but Collin Morikawa has denied that he is set to follow.

He took to Twitter yesterday to reiterate his commitment to the PGA Tour.

Monahan recently suspended 17 former or current tour players for making the switch.

Conrad Wiacek, head of sport analysis at GlobalData, said: “With fault lines already emerging in golf’s response to LIV Golf, it seems that the business of professional golf has been permanently altered with the emergence of the new competition.

“With the riches on offer it seems almost inevitable that golf will see more players cross the divide and participate in the new tournament. While the field for the inaugural event only featured four of the world’s top 50 players, it is probably only a matter of time before others do the same.

“While the PGA Tour will try to stand as the bulwark against new money, once sponsors and media organizations come on board it will be an inevitability that the golfing landscape will be permanently and irrecoverably changed and the possibilities presented by LIV Golf become too much of a temptation.”

Meanwhile, LIV chief executive Greg Norman has said the circuit will seek to formally request acceptance into the global rankings system.

In an interview with Fox News, Norman claimed the breakaway series has a "compelling case" for its tournaments to be awarded rankings points.

He revealed that LIV has submitted an application for rankings entry with the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) system.

If players can earn rankings points from LIV events, it becomes easier for golfers on the circuit to qualify for golf's four major tournaments.

Norman told Fox: "We're actually applying for OWGR points right now. And it's a very compelling application. We've worked very, very closely with the technical committee understanding all the components of what you need to apply for it."

Notably, Monahan is one of the eight members of the OWGR board which will rule on LIV's application to the rankings system.

Norman told Fox he believes Monahan should "recuse himself" from any vote on LIV's entry.

After debuting in the UK earlier this month, LIV Golf will hold its first event in the US from June 30 to July 2 in Oregon.

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