PGA Tour announces larger purses, revamped schedule

Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas et al. have repeatedly said they don’t care about the money and are happy with the PGA Tour just the way it is. But Commissioner Jay Monahan knows he needs to do whatever he can to keep the world’s largest tour as an attractive proposition for the current and future superstars of golf.

Ahead of tonight’s Travelers Championship, Monahan has announced a raft of measures designed to stem the slow trickle of players heading to the bright lights and pots of gold at LIV Golf. And surprisingly, as of this week, that now includes the surprise defection of four-time major champion, Brooks Koepka along with Abraham Ancer.

Jay Monahan Jay Monahan (Credit: PGA Tour)

Eight headline tournaments will see a total increase of some $54 million taking the likes of the Players Championship to $25 million and into the stratospheric heights of the Saudi-backed LIV events.

“We were planning on raising purses to these events in the future,” Monahan said. “The move that we’re making at the start of 2023, there’s no question that one of the things that we’re looking to do is make certain that our top events are maximised both in terms of their consequence and the financial investment, and this is an acceleration of that.”

Other tournaments that will see significant purse increases include the season-opening Sentry Tournament of Champions (from $8.2 million to $15 million), BMW Championship ($20 million), Genesis Invitational ($20 million), Arnold Palmer Invitational ($20 million), the Memorial ($20 million), FedEx St. Jude Championship ($20 million) and the Dell Technologies WGC-Match Play ($20 million).

Reading between the lines, it seems very clear that Monahan has been metaphorically searching behind the couch cushions in order to fund the latest cash splash.

“I am not naive. If this is an arms race and if the only weapons here are dollar bills, the PGA Tour can’t compete,” said Monahan. “The PGA Tour, an American institution, can’t compete with a foreign monarchy that is spending billions of dollars in attempt to buy the game of golf.”

Another interesting change is the return to yearly schedules from 2024 rather than the at-times controversial wrap-around schedules that have been in place since the end of 2013.

Also on the cards is a new three-event international series that will appear to mimic the LIV Golf no-cut teams events and will only be available to the world’s best players. The tournament are set to be held in Europe, Asia and the Middle East; at this stage the details are still under consideration.

Within months LIV Golf has turned the golfing world on its ear. Monahan mightn’t admit publicly that he underestimated the threat but this week’s quick-fire rebuttal would seem to suggest that the Greg Norman’s breakaway tour has become a bigger threat than anyone could have imagined.

And as Norman has reiterated…this is just the start.