PGA to reduce fields, remove cut at designated events

The PGA Tour has approved changes for 2024 that will bring reduced fields and no cuts at the designated events it created last year in response to the threat posed by the Saudi-backed LIV Golf circuit.

According to a memo obtained by Reuters on Wednesday, the sweeping changes - outlined in a letter sent to PGA Tour members by Commissioner Jay Monahan - do not apply to all elevated events.

The four majors, The Players Championship and three FedExCup play-off events will be unaffected.

"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," Monahan wrote.

According to the memo, select events in 2024 will feature limited fields of 70 to 80 players, with no cuts taking place after 36 holes and with opportunities for in-form players from full-field events to qualify and compete.

By comparison, last month's Phoenix Open - the PGA Tour's first fully fledged designated event - had a field of 136 golfers that was cut to 66 after the second round.

Designated events were announced by the PGA Tour last August to get the best players competing against each other more often.

The move came amid the threat posed by LIV Golf, which features limited-field, 54-hole events with no cuts and guaranteed prize money for each golfer.

"Imitation is the greatest form of flattery. Congratulations PGA Tour. Welcome to the future," read a message posted on LIV Golf's Twitter account on Wednesday as news of the PGA Tour's designated event changes circulated online.

Starting next year, designated events will include the top 50 players from the previous year's FedExCup regular season list, along with the top 10 players not otherwise eligible from the current points list.

Other qualification criteria include performance in non-designated events, consideration of the world rankings and sponsor exemptions for some PGA Tour members.

World No.3 Rory McIlroy, speaking to reporters ahead of this week's Arnold Palmer Invitational, said the changes will make the PGA Tour more competitive.

"I'm all about rewarding good play," said McIlroy, who also holds a position on the PGA Tour's Player Advisory Council.

"I want to give everyone a fair shake at this. Which this structure has done. There's ways to play into it.

"It's trying to get the top guys versus the hot guys, right? That creates a really compelling product. But (in) a way that you don't have to wait an entire year for your good play to then get the opportunity."