Golf’s PGA Tour has unveiled another revamp to its competition schedule as part of its ongoing battle for supremacy with the rival LIV Golf circuit.
Commissioner Jay Monahan said the latest changes will “transform and set the future direction” for the tour.
Under the new schedule, eight of the PGA Tour’s designated events outside of the majors will have smaller, limited fields of between 70 and 78 players, and no longer feature 36-hole cuts.
The events will have increased prize purses as the tour aims to stop more players from defecting to LIV. The revamped schedule will be implemented in 2024.
The four majors – the Masters, US Open, Open Championship, and PGA Championship – the Players Championship, and FedExCup Playoffs will remain with a full field of up to 156 players and 36-hole cuts.
From next season, the field for designated events will include the top 50 players from the previous year's FedEx Cup standings and the top 10 players from the latest points list. Five players will also be able to qualify through non-designated events.
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The top players will not have to compete in a mandatory number of tournaments, with the PGA Tour aiming to provide more flexibility.
More details will be unveiled at a later date, including which events would be considered ‘designated’ in 2024 and beyond.
The PGA Tour policy board approved the changes on Tuesday (February 28), and commissioner Monahan announced the new approach in a letter to tour membership.
Monahan said in the memo “These smaller, designated event fields will not only deliver substantial, can’t-miss tournaments to our fans at important intervals throughout the season, but they will also enhance the quality of full-field events.
“Together, this approach provides a schedule that is cohesive, compelling, consequential and with clarity for fans, players, and sponsors alike.”
He added: "Over the last year, we have spent a massive amount of time exploring how to better position the PGA Tour for continued growth.
“How to innovate and deliver a better product. How to further showcase our top performers, while staying true to the meritocracy and legacy that define the tour.
“How to create a season of consequence that deepens and expands fan interest. How to make every tournament better and deliver more value to sponsors, media partners, and host organizations – to the benefit of the entire membership.”
The tour last year already announced a raft of reforms aimed at “offering a more compelling product for our players, fans, and partners.”
This included the introduction of 12 designated events for the 2023 season, worth an average of $20 million in an attempt to keep its star players happy.
The vast changes come against the backdrop of numerous tour players leaving to join the Saudi-backed LIV Golf League (formerly the LIV Golf Invitational Series).
LIV has managed to snare several high-profile players such as Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson, Cameron Smith, Dustin Reed, and Phil Mickelson.
Speaking of the latest changes, Rory McIlroy said: “I think it makes the tour more competitive. … I'm all about rewarding good play.
“I want to give everyone a fair shake at this, which I think this structure has done. There are ways to play into it. It's trying to get the top guys versus the hot guys, right? I think that creates a really compelling product.
“You play well for two or three weeks, you're in a designated event. You know then if you keep playing well you stay in them.”
The PGA Tour’s latest alteration was mocked by LIV, with the Saudi-backed circuit tweeting: "Imitation is the greatest form of flattery. Congratulations PGA Tour. Welcome to the future."
Meanwhile, Mastercard, the international credit card giant, has renewed its title sponsorship of the Arnold Palmer Invitational PGA Tour event.
As part of a multi-year extension, the company will also remain the official payment system of the PGA Tour.
Mastercard will continue to provide cardholders with access to select PGA Tour tournaments and properties, as well as experiences at these events.
Customers will also benefit from exclusive access to a new ticket portal where they can purchase tickets to more than 20 tournaments across the 2022-23 season at a preferred price.
The renewal prolongs a partnership between the two parties that dates back to 1995.
Mastercard’s relationship with the Arnold Palmer Invitational began in 2004 and he financial giant will continue to collaborate on charitable and community initiatives with the Arnold and Winnie Palmer Foundation.
The Arnold Palmer Invitational is among the PGA Tour’s designated events this year and awards a $20 million purse.