Commissioner Jay Monahan announced sweeping changes to the PGA Tour’s structure, schedule and FedEx Cup in a press conference at the Travelers Championship on Wednesday.
Monahan outlined what players had been told in a letter obtained by Golf Digest: that the PGA Tour would return to a calendar-year plan beginning in 2024, that the FedEx Cup playoffs would be reduced from 125 players to 70, significantly reducing the purse strings for eight would increase events and introduce three international events for the top 50 in the previous season’s FedEx Cup standings in the fall.
The moves are widely seen as a response to LIV Golf, the Saudi Arabia-backed upstart tour, which is trying to lure stars away from the PGA Tour with huge guaranteed-money contracts.
“We have been on a journey for several years to strengthen and evolve the PGA Tour for the benefit of our players and fans alike,” Monahan said in the letter.
At the press conference, Monahan acknowledged that the PGA Tour cannot compete in a battle for pure resources and reiterated the PGA Tour’s commitment to its core values of legacy, history and meritocracy. Still, he shared some important news that will bring more money to the tour’s top players.
The eight tournaments that will receive a prize money increase beginning in 2023 are: the Sentry Tournament of Champions ($15 million, up from $8.2 million in 2022); the Genesis Invitational ($20 million vs. $12 million); the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard ($20 million vs. $12 million); The Players Championship ($25 million out of $20 million); the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play ($20 million vs. $12 million); the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday ($20 million vs. $12 million); the FedEx St. Jude Championship, the first event of the FedEx Cup Playoffs ($20 million vs. $15 million); and the BMW Championship, the second event of the FedEx Cup Playoffs ($20 million vs. $15 million).
The new FedEx Cup season runs from January to August. Only the top 70 players qualify for the FedEx St. Jude Invitational, as opposed to the 125 who made the first of three playoff events in recent years. The top 50 qualify for the BMW Championship, only the top 30 reach the Tour Championship.
The top 50 players from the FedEx Cup will qualify for a three-event international no-cut series to be played in the fall, while the rest of the players will compete in national fall events to compete for priority numbers and maintain their status for the following season.
The purse increases, Monahan said, will be funded by sponsorship support and will be supplemented in the short term by the tour’s operating income.
Shortly after Monahan began his opening remarks, LIV Golf officially announced the signing of Brooks Koepka, who will make his LIV debut at next week’s event in Portland. Monahan said he was grateful for Koepka’s contributions to the tour and disappointed to learn of his departure, but declined to speak further on the matter.