Jay Monahan defends new PGA Tour schedule changes, pushes back on LIV Golf comparison
The PGA Tour will introduce eight no-cut, limited field events next season.
Though some of the new changes resemble its Saudi Arabian-backed counterpart, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan insisted on Tuesday that the two leagues are still incredibly different from each other.
The Tour announced on March 1 several new changes for next season, which include limited fields and no cuts at certain designated events. LIV Golf, which just started its second season, has been running 54-hole no-cut tournaments.
"I would ask you: 'Do you think we really look the same?'" Monahan said Tuesday at TPC Sawgrass ahead of The Players Championship. "You know, the players that are competing in our events in this new format next year will have earned the right to compete in them and they will have earned it through top-50 position in the FedEx Cup this year, as well as their performance in the fall and ultimately in these swings. That's what this organization has always stood for."
Last month, the Tour announced specific changes for its schedule next season. There will be 16 total designated events, half of which are the four major championships, The Players Championship and the FedExCup Playoffs. Those events will maintain their usual cuts and field sizes. The other eight events will then feature no more than 80 golfers, have no cut and will include elevated purses and points.
It’s still not fully clear what those events are — though the Genesis Invitational, the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the Memorial and the Tournament of Champions will be included — or what the 2024 schedule will look like, but Monahan said he expects the details to come mid-summer.
While parts of it look similar to LIV Golf, and the changes come amid a long, legal battle with the new circuit, Monahan thinks the adjustments will keep the best golfers competing regularly throughout the year.
“The heart of the changes announced is our effort to present the best possible PGA Tour to our fans and provide maximum benefits for every PGA Tour member across the board,” Monahan said. “We've looked at all possible competitive models, and it was evident and perhaps obvious that whatever we do differently, we must showcase our top performers competing against one another more often.
“This is what fans want and this is what fans have been asking for … You need strong, compelling full-field events to provide consistency and keep the PGA Tour top of mind week-in and week-out with storylines and breakout stars.”
Rahm: 'Without LIV Golf, this wouldn’t have happened'
Things have been contentious between the Tour and LIV Golf since it started.
But both Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy were quick to thank the league for pushing them to make changes.
“Without LIV Golf, this wouldn’t have happened,” Rahm said Tuesday. “Like I've said before, we should be thankful this threat has made the PGA Tour want to change things … I guess it is what we needed.”
McIlroy has been one of the loudest voices against LIV Golf since it started, and has been at the forefront of the Tour’s changes. He said Tuesday that he and Tiger Woods first pitched a version of the new designated events model back at the BMW Championship in August.
“I think the emergence of LIV or the emergence of a competitor to the PGA Tour has benefited everyone that plays elite professional golf,” McIlroy said. “I think when you've been the biggest golf league in the biggest market in the world for the last 60 years, there's not a lot of incentive to innovate.
"This has caused a ton of innovation at the PGA Tour, and what was quite, I would say, an antiquated system is being revamped to try to mirror where we're at in the world in the 21st century with the media landscape … So, yeah, you know, LIV coming along, it's definitely had a massive impact on the game, but I think everyone who's a professional golfer is going to benefit from it going forward.”