PGA Tour adds big-money elite events for top players –

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The PGA Tour is invigorating its calendar by creating a series of elite events that will bring together the best players more often.

It was just one of several important announcements made by Commissioner Jay Monahan on Wednesday that will see massive economic benefits for players, especially those at the top of the talent pool. It’s the tour’s first major response to the LIV Golf series, which lured players by offering huge guaranteed contracts and extra-large purses.

Starting in 2023, 12 events on the PGA Tour schedule will offer purses of between $20 million and $25 million. Eight of them have already been announced, while four more will be named within the next 45 days. The best players have agreed to participate in these 12 tournaments as well as three other PGA Tour tournaments. With the Players Championship and the four majors, this group agreed to play 20 times.

For next season, the best players will be those who finish in the top 20 under the current Player Impact Program (PIP) and those who do the same under the revised PIP criteria. This could mean that up to 30 golfers will be in the select group.

“Our best players are firmly behind the Tour,” Monahan said. “We will be almost guaranteed to see the best players compete in 20 events throughout the season. It’s an extraordinary commitment and a testament to what they believe in.

The courses will include a significant number of players in addition to the top 20 and any PGA Tour golfer will have the chance to participate in these events.

The 12 high tournaments are the three FedEx Cup playoff events; the Genesis Invitational, the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the Memorial, the World Golf Championship-Dell Technologies Match Play and the Sentry Tournament of Champions, as well as the four tournaments that have yet to be named.

In addition to the increased schedule, Monahan also announced more financial incentives available to players. These include a doubling of money for the Player Impact Program (PIP) from $50 million to $100 million which will be shared by 20 players (instead of 10). This will be the main way the top 20 golfers will be determined.

Unlike last year, the PIP will not use social media as a metric, but will instead rely on internet searches, golf fan awareness, media mentions, broadcast exposure and general awareness.

There will also be a $500,000 minimum granted to each exempt player which will be guaranteed against their earnings and a $5,000 allowance for each non-tour member in tour events to cover expenses.

The announcement comes after a players-only meeting last week where Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy led a group of elite golfers to discuss many of the ideas announced by Monahan.

McIlroy said the coalition of top golfers was born almost out of necessity and was partly responsible for many of the announced changes.

“I think the one thing that’s kind of happened over the years is that we’re all kind of our own little independent businesses,” he said, “and we kind of try kind of competing with each other, and I think this is the first time in a long time where we’ve kind of all sat down and said, let’s try to be business partners. How can we all pull in the same direction here for everyone to enjoy and to help the whole tour and to help each other, basically.

McIlroy added that the band were by no means a breakaway with ideas of rejecting the current direction of the tour. Instead, he worked in concert with the commissioner of the PGA Tour.

“It’s not like we’re doing this as a group of renegades,” he said. “We’ve been keeping Jay up to date with all of these sorts of discussions so he can try to do some legwork internally to try and get things done fairly quickly, and that obviously led to some of the announcements that were made today’ today. I’m sure there will be changes in the future as well, but I think today was a big step in the right direction.

For Canadian golf fans, what this means for the RBC Canadian Open remains to be determined. Without (yet) being designated as an elite event and currently sandwiched in the PGA Tour schedule between the Memorial (one of the elevated tournaments) and the US Open, it is not in an enviable position to attract the best players in the game.

Some also believe that tournaments that have not yet been named could become invitational events with smaller fields, which could go against the very nature of an open national championship.

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