How the PGA Tour Plans to Keep its Star Players For 2023 Season

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LIV Golf, a new eight-event invitational series funded by Saudi Arabia and led by CEO Greg Norman, was barely a threat to the PGA Tour when it was first announced, but now its larger prize purse has the PGA Tour scrambling to make changes to keep its top players and predictions today.

Charl Schwartzel won the inaugural LIV Golf event at the Centurion Club in London, and while it wasn’t exactly well-received (the three-round, no-cut event wasn’t on major broadcast networks and didn’t have the drama normally associated with PGA Tour events), the prize money was noteworthy.

Schwartzel won more than $4 million for his first-place finish, which is more than the winner of the majority of PGA Tour events receives. In addition, it’s believed several players have been offered hundreds of millions of dollars just to defect from the PGA Tour and join LIV Golf.

Photo by Soheb Zaidi on Unsplash

Jay Monahan’s New Plan

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan is aware of LIV Golf’s momentum. The rogue league has attracted several big-name PGA Tour players and was the topic of discussion ahead of the U.S. Open earlier in June. Almost every player has had to answer questions about their allegiance to the PGA Tour.

While he wouldn’t commit to matching the “irrational” spending of LIV Golf, Monahan did announce a $45 million increase in purse enhancements for next season. In addition, the FedEx Cup Playoffs field will be decreased from 125 to 70 players by 2024, meaning more money for the top players.

Similarly, a new fall schedule will be implemented in which the top 50 players compete for higher prizes, and those who are outside of the top 70 compete for playing status the following season.

“The environment we’re in is unsettling, and our members want to see their tour grow and evolve. What we’re doing here is a response to the current environment we’re in,” Monahan said of the changes. “To say everybody supports this would be an exaggeration, but it’s the right move for the organization.”


Monahan is aware of the obvious criticisms as well. At first glance, the changes favor the top players on the PGA Tour and provide less opportunity for mid-tier players. That could further incentivize those players to head to LIV Golf.

“How are Korn Ferry players supposed to get access?” one unnamed PGA Tour player asked about Golf Digest following the announcement. “They could have increased the purses and just kept the schedule the way it was. The tour is more than just 15 guys.”

Another player, currently outside the top 125, told Golf Digest that the plan could be “an extinction event” for mid-tier golfers. And that’s a valid criticism. Why would a player in the 75-125 ranking range grind away at four-round tournaments when he could join LIV Golf and receive millions of dollars for doing so? The shorter schedule is also a huge bonus, not to mention players can still qualify for and participate in majors because they aren’t run by the PGA Tour.

Players Who Have Already Joined LIV Golf

Monahan, however, is clearly aware that stars drive TV viewership and, in turn, sponsorship and revenue. The PGA Tour needs players like Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele, Scottie Scheffler, and Collin Morikawa, especially after already losing some notable names to LIV Golf.

Phil Mickelson was the first to express interest and eventually joined the new league. Patrick Reed and Kevin Na, veterans on the PGA Tour, later followed suit. Since then, major champions like Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson, Sergio Gracia, and Brooks Koepka have all left the PGA Tour.

Koepka and DeChambeau were slated to make their LIV Golf debuts at an early July event in Portland, Oregon. It’ll be interesting to see if their presence further boosts the LIV Golf brand and attracts more eyeballs to the burgeoning golf tour.

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Adam Oakley
Events Reporter

Adam has covered the likes of Sundown Music Festival for us on 3 occassions.

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