Under Pressure From LIV Golf, the PGA Tour Defends Its Perch

Under Pressure From LIV Golf, the PGA Tour Defends Its Perch

CROMWELL, Conn. -For the final month, as the upstart, Saudi-backed LIV Golf circuit has poached a few of the most generally identified gamers from the established PGA Tour, there was hypothesis that finally the rival organizations might need to study to coexist.

But a passionate Jay Monahan, the PGA Tour’s commissioner, didn’t sound conciliatory on Wednesday. Using forceful language in his first information convention since mid-March, Monahan continued to claim the PGA Tour’s primacy, introduced a considerable enhance in future tour prize cash and accused LIV Golf of attempting to “purchase the sport.”

“If that is an arms race, and if the solely weapons listed here are greenback payments, the PGA Tour cannot compete,” Monahan advised reporters on the eve of the Travelers Championship in central Connecticut. “The PGA Tour, an American establishment, can’t compete with a overseas monarchy that’s spending billions of {dollars} in an try to purchase the recreation of golf.

“We welcome good, wholesome competitors. The LIV Saudi golf league is just not that. It’s an irrational menace, one not involved with the return on funding or true development of the recreation. ”

Monahan, who met with about 100 PGA Tour-affiliated gamers Tuesday, mentioned he advised the group that the tour “will finally come out of the present problem stronger due to our loyalty and help of our gamers and followers.”

The LIV Golf collection, nevertheless, didn’t let Monahan have the stage to himself Wednesday. About two minutes into Monahan’s information convention, LIV Golf introduced that four-time main champion Brooks Koepka had formally left the PGA Tour to hitch the different tour. LIV Golf additionally introduced a majority of the area for its first match in the United States, to start June 30 at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club exterior Portland, Ore.

There was additionally different information in the sport. As anticipated, officers for subsequent month’s British Open mentioned they’d not bar gamers aligned with LIV Golf from the main match. Several of these golfers, like Koepka, have already certified for the British Open due to their present world rankings or previous main titles. That may change in the future, however as was the case for final week’s US Open exterior Boston, British Open officers had been unwilling to exclude gamers who had already met the acknowledged standards for eligibility at this yr’s occasion.

And on the participant entrance, a number of PGA Tour gamers at the Travelers Championship privately grumbled about how Koepka, only a week in the past, was overtly supporting a present of solidarity from a majority of top-tier golfers who’ve remained loyal to the tour. When requested about Koepka’s defection Wednesday, Rory McIlroy, who’s second in the males’s world golf rankings, mentioned: “I’m stunned at plenty of these guys as a result of they are saying one factor after which they do one other.”

He added: “But it is fairly duplicitous on their half.”

Asked if he was speaking about one thing Koepka mentioned months in the past or just lately, McIlroy answered: “The entire approach by way of, in private and non-private, all of it.”

In addition to saying the PGA Tour’s plans to boost the payouts at eight tour occasions subsequent yr by $ 54 million, Monahan continued to pay tribute to his tour’s ethos as a meritocracy through which gamers are awarded prize cash based mostly on efficiency versus the LIV Golf collection the place a number of golfers have signed assured contracts reportedly price a whole lot of hundreds of thousands of {dollars}. LIV Golf occasions additionally haven’t any cuts, that means each participant is assured at the least a six-figure payday.

“If you return to the parts, the basis of this tour, the meritocracy of enjoying on the PGA Tour, how exhausting it’s to get out right here, how exhausting it’s to get at the highest stage of the recreation,” Monahan mentioned . “That is finally going to be the ingredient that can proceed to make this tour the biggest in the world,” he added.

A memo to tour gamers launched on Wednesday outlined vital purse will increase at eight non-major tournaments, with the payouts to gamers leaping to about $ 20 million per occasion. The present median prize cash whole at a PGA Tour occasion is roughly $ 8.5 million.

Monahan mentioned that the elevated participant income could be funded by augmented sponsor help and supplemented by the tour’s working reserve. The tour can also be taking measures to attempt to reward top-ranked gamers with extra alternatives to compete in the best-paying occasions, which might appear to be a direct response to the LIV Golf mannequin of getting smaller match fields. The memo additionally detailed a brand new, three-event worldwide collection in the fall of subsequent yr for the high gamers with bigger purses and occasions in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

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