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 recognized gamers from the established PGA Tour, there was hypothesis that finally the rival organizations may need to be taught 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 say the PGA Tour’s primacy, introduced a considerable improve 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 instructed reporters on the eve of the Travelers Championship in central Connecticut. “The PGA Tour, an American establishment, cannot compete with a international 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 just isn’t that. It’s an irrational risk, one not involved with the return on funding or true progress of the recreation. ”

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

The LIV Golf sequence, 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 affix 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 might 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 have 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 brazenly 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 quite a lot 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 via, in private and non-private, all of it.”

In addition to asserting the PGA Tour’s plans to reinforce the payouts at eight tour occasions subsequent yr by $ 54 million, Monahan continued to pay tribute to his tour’s ethos as a meritocracy during which gamers are awarded prize cash based mostly on efficiency versus the LIV Golf sequence the place a number of golfers have signed assured contracts reportedly value a whole bunch of hundreds of thousands of {dollars}. LIV Golf occasions additionally don’t have any cuts, which means each participant is assured not less than a six-figure payday.

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

A memo to tour gamers launched on Wednesday outlined important 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 can be funded by augmented sponsor assist and supplemented by the tour’s working reserve. The tour can 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 sequence 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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