Golf’s top players make ‘unprecedented commitment’ to TOUR, future schedule

As the world’s preeminent tour, the PGA TOUR is continually evolving to better serve its players, fans, sponsors and media partners.

This was exemplified again Wednesday at the TOUR Championship when PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan announced further improvements to the TOUR and its schedule. Four key elements highlighted Wednesday’s announcement, which builds on innovations introduced earlier this year to bring together the game’s best players more often.

Additional high events for 2023 and a commitment for top players to participate in at least 20 PGA TOUR events per year were announced, as was an expansion of the Player Impact program and guaranteed minimum earnings for full TOUR members.

The addition of four Elevated Events brings the total to 12 for next season. Top players have made an unprecedented commitment to play all 12 events, in addition to four Majors and THE PLAYERS Championship, and add three PGA TOUR events of their choice to their schedule, Commissioner Monahan announced.

“Our top players are strong supporters of TOUR,” he said, “helping us deliver an unparalleled product to our fans, who will be almost guaranteed to see the top players compete in 20 or more events throughout the the season.”

The additional elevated events – which will join the Sentry Tournament of Champions, The Genesis Invitational, Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard, Memorial Tournament presented by Workday, World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play and the three FedExCup Playoffs events (FedEx St. Jude Championship , BMW Championship and TOUR Championship) – will be announced in the coming weeks and will have prize pools of at least $20 million.

The increase in high events and the commitment of players to participate in them will give fans more clarity on when the best players on the TOUR will face each other.

“When I watch a Tampa Bay Buccaneers game, I expect to see Tom Brady throwing a football. When I tune in to a Formula 1 race, I expect to see Lewis Hamilton in a car,” said Rory McIlroy, two-time FedExCup Champion and Director of Players on the PGA TOUR Board of Directors “Sometimes what happens on the PGA TOUR is that we all act independently and we kind of have our own schedules which means we never really meet very often I think what came out of last week’s meeting and what Jay just announced here is the fact that we are all committed to meeting more often to make the product more attractive.

An expanded Player Impact Program and the introduction of the Revenue Assurance Program, which will guarantee all fully exempt TOUR members to earn at least $500,000 per year, were also part of the announcement.

“Every member of the PGA TOUR is going to benefit from the changes we’re going to make,” Commissioner Monahan said. “The TOUR will continue to grow by bringing in the best players in the world, continuing to support us and invest in our philosophy, which is the best competitive platform.”

Starting this year, the Player Impact program will double to award $100 million to the 20 players that resonate the most with fans and media. New measures will also be implemented to better capture awareness among casual and mainstream fans.

The Revenue Assurance Program replaces the previously announced “Play15” program. All Korn Ferry Tour graduates and above the TOUR priority ranking who compete in at least 15 events will earn no less than $500,000 per year, as the TOUR will fill the gap for players who do not meet this criteria. A travel allowance program will also be put in place for non-exempt members (players in the 126-150 category and under). These players will receive $5,000 for travel and tournament expenses when they miss the cup. Allocations will have no impact on tournament purses.

Other changes include additional benefits for TOUR Championship qualifiers and improvements for the Sentry Tournament of Champions. Starting this year, qualifying for the Tour Championship will provide a two-year exemption and qualify players for the following year’s Sentry Tournament of Champions. The Sentry will also award 550 FedExCup points to the winner, aligning them with player-hosted invitational tournaments (Genesis Invitational, Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard, and Memorial Tournament presented by Workday) and World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play. Finally, players will earn a lifetime membership immediately upon reaching 20 wins (eliminating the 15-year membership requirement).

“Today is the culmination of a stronger partnership between the TOUR and the players, and between the players themselves,” Commissioner Monahan said. “It’s unprecedented for our TOUR and it’s a testament to who these guys are and what they believe in.”

Here’s a look at Wednesday’s announcements:

1. Top players will commit to at least 20 PGA TOUR events (assuming they qualify), which includes:
A. 12 high events
1. The FedExCup qualifiers
A. FedEx St. Jude Championship – $20 million
B. BMW Championship – $20 million
C. Tour Championship/FedExCup Bonus Pool – $75 million
2. The Genesis Invitational – $20 million
3. Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard – $20 million
4. The Memorial Tournament presented by Workday – $20 million
5. WGC-Dell Match Play Championship – $20 million
6. Sentry Tournament of Champions – $15 million
7. To be announced: four additional high events – purses of at least $20 million each
B. THE PLAYERS Championship – $25 million
C. The Masters Tournament, PGA Championship, US Open, Open Championship
D. 3 additional FedExCup events (player’s choice)

2. For the 2022-23 season, a “best player” will be defined as:
A. Players who finish in the top 20 under the current Player Impact Program AND players who finish in the top 20 under the revised PIP criteria

3. Expanded Player Impact Program
A. Reward 20 players in total (instead of 10) for 2022 and 2023
B. Total bonus pool of $100 million (previously announced at $50 million) in 2022 and 2023
C. For 2022, any player on the revised criteria list who is not on the current criteria list will receive a payout equal to 20th position (most likely two or three players)
D. Players will receive their PIP bonus at the end of the season after participating in all 12 elevated events and three non-elevated events as listed above.

4. Launch of “Revenue Assurance Program”
A. For fully exempt members (Korn Ferry Tour category and above)
B. Guaranteed league minimum of $500,000 per player (TOUR funds any revenue gap)
C. Recruits and former members will receive money in advance
D. Must participate in 15 events
E. Replaces the “Play15” program

5. Travel allowance program
A. For non-exempt members (category 126-150 and under)
B. Receive $5,000 for each missed cut
C. Subsidize travel and tournament expenses
D. Does not affect tournament purses

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