KAPALUA, Hawaii – PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan revealed the landscape of two rival leagues going their separate ways Sunday, even as the PGA Tour is still trying to come up with plans for a revised structure in 2024.
“We’re now at a point where product is competing with product,” Monahan said.
He spoke formally for the first time since the Tour Championship in August, when he announced the 2023 schedule of tournaments with $20 million in prize money.
The PGA Tour kicks off the year in Kapalua for the Sentry Tournament of Champions. Greg Norman’s Saudi-funded league, LIV Golf, launched in June, has completed its inaugural year with eight tournaments.
LIV Golf will not resume until Feb. 23-26 at the Mayacoba Golf Resort in Mexico, which has hosted the PGA Tour event every year since 2007. The prize fund at each LIV event is $25 million, with $5 million directed toward the team tournament.
Including bonuses, Dustin Johnson earned more than $35.6 million in eight events.
Since the Tour Championship, the PGA Tour has suspended an additional six players — including British Open champion Cameron Smith and Joaquin Niemann — who signed deals to play with LIV Golf. Smith will be the defending champion this week in Kapalua.
Off the wire, there’s the matter of LIV’s antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour and the tour’s LIV lawsuit. The first case, filed in August, won’t go to trial until January 2024, with a deadline of late June.
Monahan can only focus on what the PGA Tour is doing.
“We have our plans. We know it and we’re going to keep getting better and better,” Monahan said. “They have theirs. And we continue to be the most supportive, aspirational destination in men’s professional golf.”
“What they have is very different from what we have,” he said. “We’re going our way, they’re going their way.”
LIV Golf is known for its 54-hole events with no cut and shot starts, combining individual scores with 12 four-person teams. He is still waiting to see if the circuit will receive points from the Official World Golf Ranking.
Aside from the upcoming challenge from LIV Golf, the tour is working on an improved schedule in hopes that players will have the ability to stick around for a decade or more. Key players have called this year a bridge to 2024.
The main idea is to bring in the best players and give the fans a sense of who and where they are playing. LIV Golf, for example, requires players to attend all 14 events on the schedule.
There is also a push for smaller fields. The Sentry Tournament of Champions is the first of 5 events this year. Another that could be on its last legs is the match play in Texas and the three FedEx Cup postseason events.
In the year Although the elevated events will have limited fields in 2024, Monahan said he still felt the cut was necessary.
“I’ve always felt that cutting is good for the sport,” he said. “Depending on where we end up on the field, that has to be taken into account.”
Monahan said he expects to announce a fall schedule during the Players Championship in March. For 2024, it will be an opportunity for some players to prove their status, and it is expected that even the main players will want to compete.