Sports

PGA Tour Defends Its Perch Under Pressure From LIV Golf

CROMWELL, Conn. – For the final month, because the upstart, Saudi-backed LIV Golf circuit has poached a few of the most generally identified gamers from the established PGA Tour, there was hypothesis that finally the rival organizations might need to be taught to coexist.

But a passionate Jay Monahan, the PGA Tour’s commissioner, didn’t sound conciliatory on Wednesday. Using forceful language in his first information convention since mid-March, Monahan continued to say the PGA Tour’s primacy, introduced a considerable improve in future tour prize cash and accused LIV Golf of making an attempt to “purchase the game.”

“If that is an arms race, and if the one weapons listed here are greenback payments, the PGA Tour cannot compete,” Monahan advised reporters on the eve of the Travelers Championship in central Connecticut. “The PGA Tour, an American establishment, cannot compete with a international monarchy that’s spending billions of {dollars} in an try to purchase the sport of golf.

“We welcome good, wholesome competitors. The LIV Saudi golf league just isn’t that. It’s an irrational risk, one not involved with the return on funding or true development of the sport. ”

Monahan, who met with about 100 PGA Tour-affiliated gamers Tuesday, mentioned he advised the group that the tour “will finally come out of the present problem stronger due to our loyalty and help of our gamers and followers.”

The LIV Golf sequence, nonetheless, didn’t let Monahan have the stage to himself Wednesday. About two minutes into Monahan’s information convention, LIV Golf introduced that the four-time main champion Brooks Koepka had formally left the PGA Tour to hitch the choice tour. LIV Golf additionally introduced a majority of the sector for its first event within the United States, to start June 30 at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club outdoors Portland, Ore.

There was additionally different information within the sport. As anticipated, officers for subsequent month’s British Open mentioned they might not bar gamers aligned with LIV Golf from the main event. Several of these golfers, like Koepka, have already certified for the British Open due to their present world rankings or previous main titles. That might change sooner or later, however as was the case for final week’s US Open outdoors Boston, British Open officers had been unwilling to exclude gamers who had already met the said standards for eligibility at this 12 months’s occasion.

And on the participant entrance, a number of PGA Tour gamers on the Travelers Championship privately grumbled about how Koepka, only a week in the past, was brazenly supporting a present of solidarity from a majority of top-tier golfers who’ve remained loyal to the tour. When requested about Koepka’s defection Wednesday, Rory McIlroy, who’s second within the males’s world golf rankings, mentioned: “I’m shocked at a number of these guys as a result of they are saying one factor after which they do one other.”

He added: “But it is fairly duplicitous on their half.”

Asked if he was speaking about one thing Koepka mentioned months in the past or lately, McIlroy answered: “The complete means via, in private and non-private, all of it.”

In addition to saying the PGA Tour’s plans to boost the payouts at eight tour occasions subsequent 12 months by $ 54 million, Monahan continued to pay tribute to his tour’s ethos as a meritocracy by which gamers are awarded prize cash based mostly on efficiency versus the LIV Golf sequence the place a number of golfers have signed assured contracts reportedly value tons of of tens of millions of {dollars}. LIV Golf occasions additionally don’t have any cuts, that means each participant is assured not less than a six-figure payday.

“If you return to the weather, the inspiration of this tour, the meritocracy of taking part in on the PGA Tour, how onerous it’s to get out right here, how onerous it’s to get on the highest stage of the sport,” Monahan mentioned. . “That is finally going to be the ingredient that may proceed to make this tour the best on this planet,” he added.

A memo to tour gamers launched on Wednesday outlined vital purse will increase at eight non-major tournaments, with the payouts to gamers leaping to about $ 20 million per occasion. The present median prize cash complete at a PGA Tour occasion is roughly $ 8.5 million.

Monahan mentioned that the elevated participant income can be funded by augmented sponsor help and supplemented by the tour’s working reserve. The tour can be taking measures to attempt to reward top-ranked gamers with extra alternatives to compete within the best-paying occasions, which might appear to be a direct response to the LIV Golf mannequin of getting smaller event fields. The memo additionally detailed a brand new, three-event worldwide sequence within the fall of subsequent 12 months for the highest gamers with bigger purses and occasions in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

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