The PGA Tour has launched a new $100 million counterattack in golf’s ever-escalating power struggle and insisted that players who have already joined the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series will not be welcomed back.
Following a crisis meeting of top players last week, led by Tiger Woods and Rory McIlory, the PGA Tour announced an unprecedented cash injection and overhaul to include four new “elevated events” in the existing eight-man schedule.
Each will also have a purse of at least $20 million — up to 80 percent more than this year’s prize money — and the PGA will also immediately double its “Player Impact” bonus program to $100 million for the top 20 golfers. appeal to fans.
Pending discussions with the DP World Tour – formerly the European Tour and which entered into a “strategic alliance with their US counterparts in November 2020 – one of those unnamed promoted events” could be the Scottish Open, although this complicated by players such as Ian Poulter banned from the PG Tour but not yet from their home circuit as a court case looms.
It was a big deal with top players pledging to compete in all 12 tournaments along with the four majors, The Players Championship and three other PGA Tour events of their choice.
There will also be a guaranteed $500,000 for any player who completes at least 15 tournaments in a year.
Having already announced in June the raising of eight events with at least $20 million in prize money, this latest push brings the additional annual amount committed to the PGA Tour to about $200 million. And for anyone who doesn’t think Jay Monahan has had to struggle since starting LIV, consider that the $25 million Hertfordshire launch event was staged in early June.
Telegraph Sport exclusively revealed earlier this month that Open champion Cameron Smith is among those set to announce a move to Greg Norman’s business in a deal worth more than $100 million.
That has now been preempted by the PGA Tour’s broad reform package and follows the arrival of Woods and McIlroy last week in Delaware for emergency talks with other players.
Monahan described the commitment to play 20 games – five more than the previous minimum – as “unprecedented” and stressed there would be no direct return route for players who have already jumped ship.
Asked if he would consider lifting the suspensions, Monahan said: “No, they’ve joined the LIV Golf Series and made that commitment. Every player has a choice.”
He added that “our top players are consistently behind the Tour” and outlined new financial plans that also include a guaranteed $5,000 in travel and tournament expenses for minor-leaguers who miss the cut.
“Today is the culmination of an enhanced partnership between the Tour and the players, and among the players themselves,” Monahan added.
Whether it will be enough to stop the exodus remains uncertain, with Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau, Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Henrik Stenson – who immediately quit as Ryder Cup captain – among those who have already departed.
Woods and McIlroy joined the backlash against the LIV, with the Americans claiming the renegades had “turned their backs on what allowed them to get to this position”.
McIlroy called Woods a “hero” for his high-profile response.
“We’re all committed to getting together more often to make the product more exciting,” McIlroy said. “Everybody in that room realized that this is the best way forward.”
McIlroy spoke directly to Smith, who beat him in dramatic fashion at the Claret Jug in July. “I don’t care if they leave or not … but at least I would like people to make a decision that is fully informed,” he said.
McIlroy also revealed details of his joint venture with Woods, which will see six three-man teams compete in a “high-tech golf league” on 15 Monday nights, starting in January 2024. The 18-hole competitions will last just two hours to complete.