In what has gone down as a controversial move earlier this week, the PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan announced a revamp of some of its biggest events outside the majors. The shake-up to the tournaments, known as elevated events, will see the field sizes cut to 70-78 players and the absence of a 36-hole cut with a designated £16m purse.
As they endeavoured to fend off any threat from the controversial Saudi-backed circuit, Spieth acknowledged the meeting called by Woods and McIlroy last year as vital for setting out the PGA Tour’s response to the LIV threat.
“Some of the veterans in there, guys like Tiger and even Rory, were pretty influential and saying, ‘Hey, this is a meritocracy, and we need to keep it the way’,” Spieth explained.
“I think we’ve found a pretty good balance right now in holding on to that history of it but also making modern adjustments that, in my opinion, reward appropriately to the guys who beat the best in the world week-in and week-out.”
As the adjustments to the PGA have been made, the three-time major winner admitted LIV’s influence behind their decision-making. “I would be lying if I said that we would have gone through this without LIV,” Spieth said after opening with a four-under 68 in the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill.
“But at the same time, we haven’t mentioned them in any of our discussions on what we think is best for the Tour. The Tour has been all ears. It’s been a player-friendly, player-organised situation. It’s been honestly pretty fun to be a part of.
“I hope that we can kick it off the right way and don’t have to make too many adjustments to it because the main thing now is trying to get it as close to right the first time as possible.”
Firm greens and thick rough made Bay Hill a tough test thus far, but the American is currently tied for third in the clubhouse with the likes of defending champion Scottie Scheffler, Adam Schenk, and England’s Aaron Rai.
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Spieth is just one stroke behind Sunday’s Honda Classic winner Chris Kirk and last year’s Open Championship runner-up Cameron Young and Kurt Kitayama, while world number one John Rahm, fresh off winning the Genesis Open, is leading by two shots.
After a solid day’s play in Florida, Spieth is confident in the future of the PGA Tour following the changes that have been made. “I’m very supportive,” he said. “It’s still, you have got to play well to be in the best position. It’s a situation where everyone that holds a full Tour card can play in every single event.
“I think that’s important to note. Then hopefully it creates a future product model for the next 20-plus years that’s even better than it has been. I’m trying to be a part of that next 20 years in those big events.”