In recent news on LIV Golf: On October 19th, the PGA TOUR announced a new plan that will look to keep them on the same playing field as LIV Golf, a newly founded league that rivals the PGA Tour. Jay Monahan, PGA TOUR Commissioner, announced that they are elevating four additional events throughout the season that will have increased purses and guaranteed appearances from top players on the tour. The four events that were announced in October will be the WM Phoenix Open, RBC Heritage, Wells Fargo Championship, and Travelers Championship. Joining these four events will be the four major tournaments, the Players Championship, and other prominent tournaments.
To ensure that these golfers are committed to playing in these elevated events, Monahan had to make some serious changes to the Player Impact Program, better known as the PIP. It was launched back in 2021 as a way to financially reward the Tour’s most important and popular players, but after a handful of the Tour’s most popular players left, it was due for a makeover. In 2021, Only $40 million was divided among the top 10 players in the PIP standings at the end of the season. With the recent changes made, the player pool doubled with the top 20 players being rewarded and the prize pool increased to $100 million. Many fans were quick to point fingers at LIV Golf for ruining the integrity of the sport, but in hindsight, all they did was become the catalyst for change in terms of player payout.
This new league, founded by Greg Norman and backed by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, revolutionized the sport of golf in terms of increased purses and player payout. During its inaugural season last year, the winners of each LIV tournament received $4 million while second place earned $2.125 million and third place received $1.5 million. To gain the necessary credibility as a competent tour, Norman opted to offer lucrative amounts of money to the PGA Tour’s top players, including Dustin Johnson, Cam Smith, and Phil Mickelson. It is being reported that Mickelson received up to $250 million in order to join LIV Golf.
While many see this as a life-changing move for anyone, PGA officials and players saw this as an insult and were forced to make immediate changes to the current PGA structure. To give you some perspective on the differences between LIV Golf and PGA purses, the biggest paycheck a winner received from a single tournament last year on the PGA TOUR was $3.6 million with second place receiving $2.2 million. With LIV Golf poaching several important PGA players due to monetary reasons, the PGA was forced to think of ways to elevate their events and give their players the money they deserve.
Not only has LIV forced the way the PGA pays their players, but it also changed the way golfers gain their PGA Tour cards. After many popular PGA players announced their move to LIV Golf, the PGA was forced to think of a way to not let the next batch of great golfers leave similarly. For the first time in over a decade, PGA Tour cards will be given out at Q-school, a method for pro golfers to earn Tour cards by scoring well in qualifying tournaments, as the top five finishers on the Korn Ferry Qualifying Tournament will go straight to the PGA Tour. Korn Ferry President had this to say about the new move, “Bringing back the awarding of PGA TOUR cards at Q-School will be exciting for our fans, membership, and potential new membership.” The PGA did not stop here as they formed a strategic alliance with the DP World Tour that saw the top 10 finishers on the European tour be granted Tour cards as well. These partnerships not only show the growth of the PGA tour, but also a glimpse of hope that one day there will only be one league that represents all the best golfers throughout the world.
While many saw LIV Golf as a bad thing for the sport of golf, some view it as a catalyst for change. Before the introduction of LIV Golf, it was tough to be granted a Tour card, but with the partnerships formed with the DP World Tour and the reintroduction of the Q-school, golfers now have a better opportunity to fulfill their dreams and compete on the PGA Tour. On top of that, current PGA Tour members can change their lives through elevated events and have the opportunity to be viewed as a “top player” in the world. While there is an ongoing feud between the PGA and LIV, we wonder if things can ever be resolved between the two leagues.