Your males’s professional golf is a-changing. Your PGA Tour is a-changing. The cash and schedule gained’t be your grandfather’s, mom’s and even your cash and schedule. Your LIV Golf is a-changing. They’re making strikes with gamers as you might in your fantasy soccer league.
However earlier than we get into their specifics, let’s speak about you.
Need honest takes on the PGA Tour’s adjustments? Ask Max Homa.
Max Homa did. On Friday, in response to a query about subject sizes, he stopped his ideas on subject sizes and acquired to the guts of the matter.
“We’re an leisure product, so it actually isn’t about like the right quantity of competitors, and I don’t know what that quantity is,” Homa stated. “Like I used to be speaking to Xander [Schauffele] about this. I stated, I don’t care how good you’re at golf; I don’t care how good I’m at golf. If individuals aren’t watching, we’re simply telling individuals in a bar we’re actually good at golf.
“It’s like sooner or later it’s concerning the product and what makes individuals need to watch us play.”
He’s not flawed. Preserve that in thoughts as we attempt to spin issues ahead right here. Utilizing the identical query all through, let’s look forward.
So after the PGA Tour’s adjustments … what now?
The PGA Tour’s adjustments had been many, and we’ll attempt to sum issues up rapidly. On Wednesday, forward of the Tour Championship, Tour commissioner Jay Monahan stated that 20 gamers might be outlined as “prime gamers” beginning subsequent 12 months; the system by which the Tour will outline these gamers would be the Participant Affect Program, and it’ll obtain a handbag bump, from $50 million to $100 million, to reward these gamers; 4 extra tournaments, along with eight introduced in June, might be tabbed as “elevated occasions” with $20 million purses; the 20 gamers will play in these occasions, the Gamers Championship, the majors and three different tournaments; all totally exempt gamers will begin the season with a $500,000 stipend; and gamers will obtain a $5,000 journey stipend. And … all of this begins quickly: The PGA Tour season ended Sunday, and the subsequent one tees off in simply two weeks.
So … what now?
The PGA Tour simply made big-time structural adjustments. Listed below are the ten largest
We’ll begin by answering why these strikes had been made, and that’s straightforward: LIV Golf. Monahan tried to spin that every thing had been within the works whatever the Saudi-backed sequence, however we’re not naive. Gamers had been leaving for the upstart, so the established model is attempting to make its remaining current constituents pleased. Particularly the highest gamers, which, as you’ll be able to see above, at the moment are referred to as prime gamers, conveniently sufficient.
However the place does that depart the little guys? We’ll start with the participant angle. Will it’s straightforward for gamers to crack that prime 20 threshold? That’s, in any case, what the Tour has hung its headcover on — anybody can break by. However the strikes seemingly defend the elite higher; with the highest gamers continually enjoying the highest occasions, you’ll assume that will create an countless star loop. If you happen to’re a golf fan, meaning you’ll see plenty of Rory and Scottie. However will you see the subsequent Rorys and Scotties?
That continues to be to be seen. For what it’s price, McIlroy himself stated nothing’s modified right here.
“So anybody has an opportunity to play their method into these elevated occasions,” he stated Wednesday. “Anybody has an opportunity to characteristic within the Participant Affect Program. Like that’s the factor: The explanation we’re attempting to do that is we’re attempting to construct a Tour for the longer term — younger, bold gamers that need to be the most effective gamers within the sport.
These adjustments to PGA Tour’s Participant Affect Program have big-money implications
“If you wish to be the most effective participant within the sport, the PGA Tour is the place you need to be as a result of it’s a pure meritocracy. There’s nothing stopping guys from enjoying in these elevated occasions. There’s nothing stopping guys from getting within the PIP. You simply play higher. You’re employed your ass off, you play higher, and in case you try this, you’ll get into these occasions.
“That’s so simple as it’s. Everybody has the identical alternative. Everybody begins the week at even par, other than this week. However everybody has the identical alternative firstly of each week to make one thing of themselves and to compete, and that’s the gorgeous factor about this Tour.”
Then there are the occasions that aren’t elevated. Even labeling them is troublesome. Floor-level occasions? Occasions, arduous cease? Anyway, you’ve the elevated dozen — three FedEx Cup Playoffs occasions, Genesis Invitational, Arnold Palmer Invitational, Memorial Match, WGC-Match Play, Match of Champions and 4 to come back — and the highest gamers are promising to play these, the majors and three extra. However what concerning the 3M Opens and John Deere Classics of the world?
In an interview with Golfweek — which you’ll and may learn in full right here — James Hahn had that thought. He’s a member of the Tour’s Coverage Board and was the lone dissenting vote to the adjustments.
“It may cannibalize the remainder of the season and make the opposite tournaments really feel like second-class occasions,” Hahn stated within the interview. “By asking the most effective gamers to play extra and primarily the identical schedule, they will find yourself taking the identical week off. Are they going to play the Honda Basic with its $8-million purse, or the $20-million purses that encompass it? I worry we may find yourself just like the ATP [the men’s tennis circuit], the place solely a handful of occasions draw actual curiosity.”
That’s a sound concern. Is there an answer? Possibly. Rotate the unannounced 4 and the pick-em three among the many different occasions. And know that prime gamers will nonetheless play their favorites; the horses-for-courses thought. It’s a thought.
So after LIV Golf’s adjustments … what now?
When LIV’s fourth occasion tees off Thursday in Boston, the Saudi-backed sequence is predicted so as to add Tour gamers Cameron Smith, Joaquin Niemann, Harold Varner III, Mito Pereira, Marc Leishman, Cameron Tringale and Anirban Lahiri to its roster, although not less than Pereira could maintain off so as to play within the upcoming Presidents Cup. (Extra on that beneath.) In actual fact, the announcement could have already been made by the point you learn this.
Cameron Smith and others to hitch LIV, based on stories; LIV doesn’t remark
So … what now?
From the world-ranking standpoint, Smith, at No. 2, and Niemann, at No. 19, would instantly turn into LIV’s prime gamers, although it must be famous that all the LIV roster has dipped with out world-ranking factors of its personal to award. Nonetheless, the positions are earned; Smith gained the Open Championship and Gamers Championship this 12 months, Niemann the Genesis.
You must also concentrate on the nationalities right here; Smith and Leishman are Australian, Niemann and Pereira are Chilean, Varner and Tringale are American, and Lahiri is Indian. LIV has leaned into its groups being region-flavored, and this crop of gamers may improve that.
However your most important takeaway must be the jolt. The PGA Tour could possibly be weaker than it was yesterday. LIV could possibly be stronger now. Greg Norman is happy.
After all, does that imply extra curiosity? Or sponsors? Or a TV deal? [LIV, remember, is shown just on YouTube and its Facebook and home pages.] Internationally, perhaps. However none of those gamers, in the meanwhile, are needle movers within the U.S.
To that finish, contemplate this quote from Atul Khosla, LIV Golf Investments President and COO, throughout an interview final month with CNBC:
“We do have an extended runway. However our investor undoubtedly desires to see returns on the finish of the day.”
So for the Presidents Cup … what now? And the Ryder Cup?
We’ll begin by noting easy methods to qualify for for occasions, although the Presidents Cup is easy; it’s run by the PGA Tour, the Tour has banned its members after enjoying in LIV occasions, and LIV gamers might be banned from the Presidents Cup, which can begin in simply over three weeks in Charlotte, N.C.
‘Join the dots’: Ryder Cup captain solutions matter of factly on LIV query
The Ryder Cup is murkier, and whereas nothing has been decided but for subsequent 12 months’s occasion in Italy and past, LIV could also be locked out right here, too. On the U.S. aspect, the PGA of America controls the choice course of, and in June, captain Zach Johnson spelled out his ideas on potential LIV participation on this method: “So what I do know is that this: With a view to play on the Ryder Cup group, whether or not you’re prime six or a decide, you need to garner Ryder Cup factors by the PGA of America. With a view to garner Ryder Cup factors by the PGA of America, it’s a must to be a member of the PGA of America. The best way that we’re members of the PGA of America is thru the PGA Tour. “I’ll allow you to join the dots from there.” On the European aspect, the DP World Tour handles alternatives, and officers there have been largely mum, with European Ryder Cup director Man Kinnings just lately telling numerous shops: “The place isn’t clear. There are authorized appeals ongoing, and till such time, the gamers are entitled to play. And due to this fact, you understand, the Ryder Cup qualification course of when it does get introduced, then that must be one thing that [captain] Luke [Donald] might be engaged on with us.” OK, then.
So … now what?
On the American aspect, LIV golfers Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson would all have been as much as play, as they did ultimately 12 months’s Ryder Cup. However that’s three gamers, and the secure is deep. In the meantime, the opposition is gutted.
Gone from Presidents Cup Worldwide group consideration can be Smith, Niemann, Pereira, Leishman and Lahiri — although Pereira, on Friday, posted a Presidents Cup image to his Instagram web page — and already gone are LIV gamers Abraham Ancer, Carlos Ortiz, Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel. So you understand Trevor Immelman’s response, however right here it’s anyway.
‘Brutally troublesome’: Trevor Immelman talks Presidents Cup complications attributable to LIV Golf
“It’s been an enormous ache in my ass,” Immelman stated on final week’s GOLF Subpar podcast, talking usually. “There’s no different solution to put it. It’s been brutally troublesome in some ways. Not only for the Presidents Cup, however as a result of I’m a member of the PGA Tour and DP World Tour and it’s been robust to see my sport get divided over the previous 12 months. From a Presidents Cup standpoint, it’s made it uber-tricky.”
The European group, in the meantime, could also be with out its veterans. Previous Ryder Cuppers Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer, Paul Casey, Graeme McDowell, Bernd Wiesberger all play for LIV — as does Henrik Stenson, who had been the captain, earlier than signing on with the upstarts final month.
So … what now for a decision between the perimeters?
LOL. However stranger issues have occurred.
Nonetheless, in January of 2024, the perimeters are heading to courtroom after a batch of LIV gamers filed an antitrust lawsuit towards the PGA Tour, although the variety of golfers within the swimsuit has just lately dropped to seven. And Monahan stated this on Wednesday, when requested if the Tour would carry suspensions ought to a participant have an interest within the adjustments:
“No.” Finish of quote.
A reporter then requested why not.
“They’ve joined the LIV Golf Collection and so they’ve made that dedication,” Monahan stated. “For many of them, they’ve made multiyear commitments. As I’ve been clear all through, each participant has a alternative, and I respect their alternative, however they’ve made it. We’ve made ours. We’re going to proceed to concentrate on the issues that we management and get stronger and stronger.
“I feel they perceive that.”
Nonetheless, not less than one fan stays hopeful.
Towards the tip of his podcast, Son of a Butch, teacher Claude Harmon requested his dad, Butch Harmon, this final week:
“All proper, so that you get in a room proper now with Greg Norman and Jay Monahan and somebody asks you to be the moderator between the 2 of them. What recommendation are you giving to Greg and what recommendation are you giving to Jay to attempt to see if there’s a method that this complete factor may be much less harmful and fewer aggressive than it’s?”
“Initially, I’d say depart your egos on the door,” stated Butch Harmon, who as soon as coached Norman and LIV participant Phil Mickelson. “Are available with no egos. let’s are available with an open thoughts and see what we are able to do to make it higher. That might be the very first thing. Second factor, I’d assume that there’s a method for the European Tour, the PGA Tour, the LIV Tour, to get collectively and have 4 or 5 enormous tournaments a 12 months, the place members from all three get to play. You may make it a 100-man subject, you are able to do it off world rankings, you are able to do it any method you need to do it, I don’t care. For an amount of cash, as a result of that’s what it’s all about. And go to iconic, fabulous golf programs world wide and have this true world occasion.
Butch Harmon coached Greg Norman and Phil. And he has some ideas on LIV.
“Now, that going to occur? Most likely not as a result of I don’t assume Jay Monahan would even go to the assembly in the meanwhile. So I feel till issues settle down — I’ve by no means talked to Jay about it, so I haven’t had that chance. However I’d like to see some type of factor get collectively the place it’s a world occasion, a big world occasion. Not near the majors. The majors will all the time be the majors. They’re there. Final in golf is profitable a significant. I don’t care in case you’ve 25 tournaments in your life; in case you’ve by no means gained a significant, I’m sorry, you’re not thought-about an amazing champion. However there’s acquired to be a method that they will co-exist. … And I feel these two organizations need to get collectively and do what’s finest for golf.”
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