The PGA Tour has created a hierarchy. Not everybody will prefer it
Joel Dahmen was being humorous when, three years in the past, he defined that there’s a “PG-A” Tour, full of the Tigers and the Rorys and the JTs, after which a “PG-B” Tour full of much more folks like him.
He wasn’t speaking about Designated occasions again then. Reasonably, he was speaking about financial institution accounts, reputation and time constraints. He didn’t actually really feel equal, regardless that at instances his scorecard actually stated he was. On Thursday mornings, after all, none of that mattered. Throughout the prime echelon of professional golf, the variations between the PGB Tour and the PGA Tour had been largely flattened. The perfect 125 gamers on this planet may play mainly any occasion they desired. They’d shoot their rating and noticed the way it stacked up.
Wanting again, there’s an irony to the setting the place Dahmen shared these ideas. We had been in a board room on the Genesis Invitational, a event that has since turn into a Designated occasion — capital ‘D’ — which implies Dahmen should work his buns off to qualify for. He’s one of many 100 finest golfers on the planet, however that’s not fairly sufficient.
Wednesday’s information arrived within the type of a report from Golfweek and finally a memo from commissioner Jay Monahan to the membership. The message: the largest occasions on the Tour schedule, which characteristic mega-millions purses, are going to be extra unique. Simply since you’re on the PGA Tour doesn’t imply you’ll get in. Eight of the largest tourneys — excluding the key championships, playoffs and Gamers — will likely be crammed by the 50 gamers who performed finest final 12 months, the subsequent 10 gamers enjoying effectively this 12 months, and 5 gamers enjoying rather well not too long ago. For those who’re not amongst that group, welcome to the PG-B Tour.
To finest perceive what this implies, we will have a look at Dahmen, who’s ranked Thirty fourth within the present FedEx Cup and 89th on this planet. Since he didn’t end Prime 50 final 12 months, if subsequent 12 months’s guidelines had been in place proper now he could be spending Genesis Week hanging out at dwelling. If he holds onto that Thirty fourth-place spot, he’ll be enjoying all of them.
We will additionally look to considered one of Dahmen’s finest mates and faculty roommates, Nick Taylor. The identify ought to ring a bell. Taylor pushed Scottie Scheffler to his restrict final month in Phoenix, beating Jon Rahm and the remainder of the sector within the course of and eking out a solo second-place end value $2.18 million. Taylor entered the week ranked 51st within the FedEx Cup, incomes his manner into the sector through a victory in 2020. Below 2024’s guidelines, he’d be in Scottsdale solely as a result of that’s the place he lives.
The truth that Taylor wouldn’t have been within the subject for a event he almost received is the proper illustration of why lower-level Tour execs might not like the brand new qualification requirements. They’ve been uneasy about it in latest weeks, although members of golf’s higher class have the ground to talk out in press conferences. It’s all about entry.
What will we make of the PGA Tour’s new Designated Occasions Mannequin?
Life on the PGA Tour is an effective life, interval. That’s one of many most important issues Dahmen stated again in early 2020. However there’s a saying that everybody in professional golf agrees upon, and it goes, Eat what you kill. It’s fairly self-explanatory: You get what you earn. However the PGA Tour at all times provided a lot to go round. Wednesday’s information sophisticated the meals chain. It added restrictions to the looking season. Eat what you’re allowed to kill.
The brand new system feels very rational. Monahan and people round him have rethought the Tour from the highest down, rewarding its finest performers after which worrying about the remainder. They’ve labored out the way it may make monetary sense, a strain that its competitors at LIV Golf doesn’t but really feel. Enterprise leaders would reward the system for its logic, and it’s enterprise leaders who dominate the PGA Tour’s coverage board. However there are folks and traditions and norms on the opposite finish of these selections. The Tour’s new efficiencies can nonetheless influence the lives of greater than 100 Tour members. These gamers are allowed to be disenchanted, particularly given they’ve had the identical seat on the desk for years.
Rory McIlroy was significantly judicuous two weeks in the past, once I requested him who ought to play in particular occasions with $20 million purses: “The perfect gamers needs to be enjoying in them, as a result of finally the PGA Tour must be constructed round the most effective gamers as a result of that’s what is going to maximize the worth of the product.”
There goes that phrase once more. Product. We’ve been utilizing it quite a bit the final 12 months. What does it imply? How many individuals contribute to the product? We’ve by no means put a particular quantity to it, although we’ve gotten nearer in recent times. We will agree that Collin Morikawa influences the product. However what concerning the affect of the various, many execs who’re, on common, only one single stroke per spherical worse than he’s?
What we all know now’s that clarifying the product meant clarifying the hierarchy. When Joel talked about the PG-B Tour, we laughed. However now the PG-B Tour is official Tour coverage. This week’s announcement was a blunt public declaration that there have been two circuits enjoying as one. The haves and the have-nots? Not fairly; the professionals on Dahmen’s stage are nonetheless doing simply high-quality. They’re only one step farther from the highest stage of the skilled sport, a stage they already thought they’d reached. As Dahmen tweeted Wednesday night, “It’s a superb time to #playbetter.”
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