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Reduced Field, No Cut: The PGA Tour Under Fire from Critics

It was a veritable bombshell that went off on Wednesday, following the PGA Tour Board of Directors’ ratification on Tuesday evening of a radical new approach to the 2024 schedule, with reduced fields and the absence of a post cut. 36 holes in most major tournaments…

For the tournaments concerned by these new measures ratified Tuesday by the PGA Tour , there will only be 70 to 78 players at the start and no cut. But some will continue as before, that is to say without any change, starting with the Majors , the Players Championship and those of the final phase of the FedEx Cup .

The exclusivity of the first leaks was reserved for Golfweek by two sources close to the “board” of the PGA Tour, responsible this year for the creation of “boosted” tournaments (elevated events) endowed with a minimum of 20 million dollars, to face up to competition from the LIV Golf circuit: 14 events with 25 million dollars in prize money, on average, for 48 players divided into 12 teams of four.

PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images/AFP

Closed ecosystem?

This first measure, decided in an emergency, had not made it possible to go as far as reducing the field of players. This will be done in 2024, when the PGA Tour returns to a calendar year. And it will make waves among the “average” players whose program will be limited by the reduced fields. Although one high-level player, speaking unnamed, believes that this plan will allow PGA Tour members to choose from designated events, without creating a closed ecosystem, reserved for the best players.

We want the best players and the most exciting players

PGA Tour internal source

”  We want the best players and the most exciting players  ,” a PGA Tour insider revealed. As for the best players, on the designated events, it will be the first 50 of the BMW Championship during the play-offs of the FedEx Cup, the previous season, added to the 10 best players not eligible for the classification by points of the FedEx Cup. There will also be five places reserved for players who have obtained good results in non-designated tournaments.

Alternation between “designated” tournaments and others… 

The future calendar would alternate two designated tournaments with three non-designated, and so on. With the five best players from the three “normal” tournaments, on points, qualified for the next two “elevated events”. And each winner on the Tour automatically allowed to play all designated tournaments until the end of the season. 

The first reaction, positive, came from Max Homa , in a press conference, before the Arnold Palmer Invitational which begins Thursday. ” It’s made for the fans, to allow the best players to participate in the biggest tournaments and to fight on Sunday in the late afternoon, like Scottie (Scheffler) and Jon (Rahm) at the Phoenix Open “, a said Homa, a member of the PGA Tour Players Council . And he said he is convinced that the reduced fields, in designated tournaments, will allow non-designated tournaments to benefit from a higher field, with better players, “guys who play very good golf and that the fans know. »

Another qualification criterion will be the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) , with the World Top 30 as a priority , to enable a player returning from injury to be picked up, for example, and allow him to play the designated tournaments. There will always be “sponsor exemptions”, with stricter criteria, to allow a living legend like Tiger Woods to still be able to play the tournament he wants, when he wants.

40% renewal, year over year

PGA Tour officials ran many simulations against their starting model. The best players in the world, at a meeting last summer in Delaware , had asked for reduced fields and no cut, but their criteria would have guaranteed 80% of players their participation in “elevated events”, d season to season. The structure ratified Tuesday by the PGA Tour would ensure only 60% of players their presence the following season, with therefore 40% renewal instead of 20% in the players’ project.

A PGA Tour spokesperson declined to confirm details of that plan to Golfweek . A memo detailing all these changes was sent to all PGA Tour members on Wednesday, immediately shared by journalist Dan Rapaport ( Golf Digest, Sports Illustrated ).

In particular, it is indicated that there will be no compulsory participation in a tournament and that the Player Impact Program (PIP) , which rewards the most active players in the media and on social networks, will be reduced by 100 million. dollars, for 20 players, to 50 million for 10 players. The 50 million saved will be donated to other player compensation programs. 

Source: Golf Planete