PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan says LIV Golf Invitational Series is an “irrational threat” to the game

If there was any doubt about the poison that was brewing between the PGA Tour and rival LIV Golf Invitational Series, the final salvo was delivered Wednesday from the escape circuit.

Just as PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan was unveiling increased scholarships, a revamped schedule and sweeping changes to the FedEx Cup playoffs, LIV Golf sent out a press release confirming that four-time main champion Brooks Koepka had defected to the new FedEx Cup-funded circuit. Saudi Arabia Public investment fund.

“As I also told the players [on Tuesday], let me be clear: I’m not naive, “Monahan said during a press conference at the Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Connecticut.” If this is an arms race and if the only weapons here are dollar bills, the PGA Tour is not. can compete. The PGA Tour, an American institution, is no match for a foreign monarchy that is spending billions of dollars trying to buy the game of golf.

“We welcome good and healthy competition. The LIV Saudi Golf League is not that. It is an irrational threat, which is not about the return on investment or the true growth of the game.”

Koepka, an eight-time tour winner who earned nearly $ 38 million during his career, is the latest member of the PGA Tour to be lured by a signing bonus of more than $ 100 million, sources told ESPN. He joins other big winners Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed among the defectors.

“Currently, no organization owns or dominates the game of golf,” Monahan said. “Instead, the various entities, whether it be Augusta National or USGA or LPGA or PGA Tour or PGA of America, work together to meet our respective priorities, but with the best interests of the game at heart.

“But when someone tries to buy the sport, dismantle the institutions that are inherently invested in its growth, and focus only on a personal priority, that partnership vanishes, and instead we end up with a person, an entity, using infinite amounts of money to direct. employees, non-members or partners, towards their personal goal, which may or may not change tomorrow or the next day. I doubt that is the vision each of us has of the game. “

In a reminder sent to players on Wednesday, the PGA Tour detailed approximately $ 54 million in scholarship increases for eight existing tournaments: Sentry Tournament of Champions ($ 8.2 million to $ 15 million), The Genesis Invitational, Arnold Palmer Invitational , WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play and The Memorial Tournament ($ 12 million to $ 20 million), the Players ($ 20 million to $ 25 million), FedEx St. Jude Championship and BMW Championship ($ 15 million to $ 20 million) ).

“These increases will be funded by sponsorship support and supplemented in the short term by the operational reserve,” Monahan said in the statement. “Please note that these resource allocation changes do not affect the cash prize increases previously announced at other events.”

The PGA Tour is returning to an annual schedule, with the FedEx Cup season running between January and August.

The tour also plans to add three events in a global golf series that will include scholarships valued at $ 25 million and courses made up of the top 50 players in the previous season’s FedEx Cup points rankings. These events, which will rotate in cities across Europe, Asia and the Middle East, could be added to the program in 2024.

The tour is also adjusting the pitch size for the FedEx Cup playoffs, with the top 70 players qualifying for the first event at the FedEx St. Jude Championship, the top 50 at the BMW Championship and the top 30 at the Tour Championship at East Lake. in Atlanta. Previously, the top 125 had qualified for the first event, 70 in the second and 30 in the third.

Going forward, only the top 70 on the points list will be fully exempted next season, including invitations with upscaled bags. Those who finish out of the top 50 in the future can play in the fall events to earn a spot in the invites or stay in the top 125 to keep their tour cards and priority status.

World number 1 golfer Scottie Scheffler said he was impressed by the changes proposed by the PGA Tour.

“The money we have on the PGA Tour, I’ve never dreamed of playing for as much money as I do now,” said Scheffler. “I don’t know how much money I’ve made this year, but it’s definitely more than I deserve for hitting a white golf ball around. For me, the memories I’ve played on this tour and the dreams I have of wanting to be on this tour. tour, cannot be replaced by something financial.

“Money is money, and it’s not something I’m trying to let control how I live my life.”

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