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The PGA Tour is reportedly going to look quite different at certain events in 2024.
According to Eamon Lynch of Golfweek, the PGA Tour board approved reduced fields to 70 and 78 players with no 36-hole cuts for designated events next year outside of the four majors, The Players Championship and FedEx Cup playoff tournaments.
Lynch noted the idea of designated events with increased purses of at least $20 million was “a direct response to the threat posed by LIV Golf.” They were put in place this year, although the field size and no-cut changes will start in 2024.
While LIV Golf has been criticized as a sportswashing venture that is bankrolled by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund in part to distract from the country’s human rights record, a number of headline names left the PGA Tour to join it, including Phil Mickelson, Cameron Smith, Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau.
These designated events with smaller fields and the opportunity to make more money outside of the four prestigious majors will, in theory, allow the PGA Tour to keep the sport’s best players on the circuit.
“If you look at the NBA’s trajectory over the last 20 years, they’ve built that league around their best players and their stars, not around the 12th guy on the team,” Rory McIlroy previously told reporters. “But because they’ve built that league up around the stars, the 12th guy on the team does way better than he used to. So that’s sort of the way I’ve been trying to tell it.”
Yet concerns could come from players who are not considered stars and consistently on the top of the world rankings since smaller fields would cut into their chances to play and make money on the tour.
With that in mind, Lynch reported the plan is to create opportunities for players to earn their spots in such designated events.
The fields will feature the top 50 players who make the BMW Championship based on the previous season’s FedEx Cup playoffs, the top 10 players who aren’t eligible that way and five spots for the top point-earners in the previous three non-designated tournaments. What’s more, any PGA Tour tournament winner will be eligible for the remaining designated events of that season.
There will also be the ability to qualify based on the top 30 of the World Golf Rankings and even sponsor exemptions, which would create paths for injured players returning or notable competitors such as Tiger Woods to participate.
“I’ve had tons of conversations with guys that are worried about what events they’re going to play next year and all that,” McIlroy said. “The one thing I said, ‘Look, no one’s trying to screw the bottom half of the tour here.’ If anything, we’re trying to lift it up.”
There have already been three designated events this year—Jon Rahm won the Sentry Tournament of Champions and Genesis Invitational, and Scottie Scheffler was victorious at the WM Phoenix Open.