A collection of top-ranked PGA Tour stars – with one notable omission – have met to discuss a new tour structure that reads straight out of the LIV Golf playbook.
The players, led by Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods, reportedly voted unanimously to support the concept, which would include a series of “top-tier” tournaments with a limited field size and an elevated prize fund, with the ultimate goal of shoring up the future of the PGA Tour in the face of increased pressure from LIV.
According to golf publication the Firepit Collective, the top-tier events would include up to 18 no-cut tournaments featuring the top 60 players competing for purses pushing $30 million.
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McIlroy and Woods conducted the first meetings at the JP McManus Pro-Am in Ireland in early July, and have since met with other players and representatives – including PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan – before presenting a plan to players ahead of the BMW Championship last weekend.
The group of 22 who met last week include world No.1 Scottie Scheffler, Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa, Viktor Hovland, Matt Fitzpatrick, Jordan Spieth, Joaquin Niemann, Shane Lowry, Tyrell Hatton, McIlroy and Woods, among others.
It notably did not include Cameron Smith – another strong indication he is set to join the LIV Golf tour.
Outside the top-tier events, there was also talk of a limited number of single-day, indoor events that would focus on technology and games, to be held in the off-season.
Players eligible for the top-tier tournaments would be required to play a yet-to-be-determined number of lower ranking events, and it is understood there will be promotions and relegations come season’s end.
The aim of the top-tier tournament is to ensure the top-ranked players compete against each other more regularly than just at the majors.
Justin Thomas told CBS Golf the meeting last week was “productive”, and that Woods was the driving force speaking to players.
“I think if someone like him is passionate about it, no offense to all of us, but that’s really all that matters,” he said.
“If he’s not behind something, then one, it’s probably not a good idea in terms of the betterment of the game, but two, it’s just not going to work.
“He needs to be behind something. I think he’s been a great kind of leading role in a lot of ways in the game for a lot of us.”
Rory McIlroy agreed with Thomas’ assessment of Woods. He said the meetings were to “try to sort of manage a way forward”.
“(Tiger) is the hero that we’ve all looked up to. His voice carries further than anyone else’s in the game of golf. His role is navigating us to a place where we all think we should be,” he said.
“I think it’s pretty apparent that whenever we all get in the room, there’s an alpha in there, and it’s not me.”
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