As the premier tour in the world, the PGA TOUR is constantly evolving to better serve its players, fans, sponsors and media partners.
That was illustrated again at the TOUR Championship on Wednesday when PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan announced further improvements to the TOUR and schedule. Four key items highlighted Wednesday’s announcement, which built on the innovations introduced earlier this year to bring the game’s top players together more often. Additional Elevated Events for 2023, and a commitment from top players to participate in at least 20 PGA TOUR events per year, were announced, as well as an expansion of the Player Impact Program and guaranteed league minimum earnings for full TOUR members.
The addition of four Elevated Events brings the total to 12 for next season. Top players have made an unprecedented commitment to play all 12 events, in addition to the four majors and THE PLAYERS Championship, and add three PGA TOUR events of their choice to their schedule, Commissioner Monahan announced.
“Our top players stand firmly behind the TOUR and help us deliver an unparalleled product to our fans, who are almost guaranteed to see the best players compete in 20 events or more throughout the season,” he said.
The additional Elevated Events – which will participate in the Sentry Tournament of Champions, The Genesis Invitational, Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard, Memorial Tournament presented by Workday, World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play and the three FedExCup Playoffs events (FedEx St . Jude Championship, BMW Championship and TOUR Championship) — to be announced in the coming weeks and have a purse of at least $20 million.
An expanded Player Impact Program and the introduction of the Earnings Assurance Program were also part of the announcement.
Starting this year, the Player Impact program will double to award $100 million to 20 players who resonate most with fans and media. New stats will also be implemented to better capture the awareness of both casual and core fans.
The Earnings Assurance Program replaces the previously announced “Play15” program. All Korn Ferry Tour graduates and above in the priority ranking of the TOUR who participate in at least 15 events will earn no less than $500,000 per year, as the TOUR will fill the gap for players who do not meet that benchmark. A travel reimbursement program will also be implemented for non-exempt members (players in the category 126-150 and below). Those players will receive $5,000 for travel and tournament-related expenses if they miss the cut. The stipends do not affect the tournament grants.
Other changes include additional benefits to TOUR Championship Qualifiers and improvements to the Sentry Tournament of Champions. Starting this year, qualifying for the TOUR Championship will provide a two-year exemption and will qualify players for the following year’s Sentry Tournament of Champions. The Sentry will also award 550 FedExCup points to the winner, in line with the player-hosted invitationals (Genesis Invitational, Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard, and Memorial Tournament presented by Workday) and World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play. Finally, players will immediately earn Lifetime Membership after reaching 20 wins (eliminating the 15-year membership requirement).
“Today is the culmination of an enhanced partnership between the TOUR and the players, and between the players themselves,” said Commissioner Monahan. “It’s unprecedented for our TOUR and a testament to who these guys are and what they believe in.”
Here’s a closer look at Wednesday’s announcements:
1. Top players commit to a PGA TOUR schedule of at least 20 events (assuming they qualify), including:
A. 12 Increased Events
1. FedExCup Playoffs
A. FedEx St. Jude Championship – $20 Million
B. BMW Championship – $20 Million
C. TOUR Championship/FedExCup Bonus Pool – $75 Million
2. The Genesis Invitational – $20 Million
3. Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard – $20 million
4. the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday – $20 million
5. WGC-Dell Match Play Championship – $20 Million
6. Sentry Tournament of Champions – $15 Million
7. To Be Announced: Four Additional Elevated Events – Scholarships worth at least $20 million each
B. THE PLAYERS Championship – $25 million
C. The Masters Tournament, PGA Championship, US Open, The Open Championship
D. 3 additional FedExCup events (at player’s option)
2. For the 2022-23 season, a “top player” is defined as:
A. Players who finish in the top 20 under the current Player Impact Program AND players who finish in the top 20 under the revised PIP criteria
3. Expanding the Player Impact Program
A. Reward a total of 20 players (out of 10) for 2022 and 2023
B. Total Bonus Pool of $100 Million (Previously Announced as $50 Million) in 2022 and 2023
C. For 2022, any player on the revised criteria list who is not on the current criteria list will receive a payout equal to the 20th position (probably two or three players)
D. Players will receive their End-of-Season PIP Bonus after participating in the 12 Elevated Events and three Non-Elevated Events as described above
4. Launch of “Earnings Assurance Program”
A. For Fully Exempt Members (Korn Ferry Tour category and above)
B. Guaranteed league minimum of $500,000 per player (TOUR funds any gaps in revenue)
C. Newbies and Returning Members Receive Money Upfront
D. Must participate in 15 events
E. Replaces “Play15” program
5. Travel stipend program
A. For non-exempt members (category 126-150 and below)
B. Get $5,000 for every cut missed
C. Subsidies for travel and tournament related costs
D. Does not affect tournament grants