Golf’s ‘top players’ commit to playing at least 20 PGA Tour events a year

Golf’s “top players” have committed to play at least 20 PGA Tour events a year, the Tour’s commissioner, Jay Monahan, has announced.

The 20 events include the four major championships, the Players Championship and 12 “elevated” tournaments on the PGA Tour which will have an average purse of $20m (£17m). Players will then choose three other PGA Tour events to add to their schedules as the Tour bids to combat the threat posed by the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series.

“Our top players are firmly behind the Tour, helping us deliver an unmatched product to our fans, who will be all but guaranteed to see the best players competing against each other in 20 events or more throughout the season,” Monahan said in a press conference ahead of the Tour Championship.

Asked if LIV Golf players who were impressed by the changes to the PGA Tour would be welcomed back, Monahan said: “No. They’ve joined the LIV Golf Series and they’ve made that commitment and many have made a multi-year commitment.

“I’ve been clear throughout, every player has a choice and I respect that choice. I think they understand that.”

The Tour’s announcement comes a week after Tiger Woods flew to Delaware before the BMW Championship to lead a players-only meeting, with Rory McIlroy also a key figure. “Everyone in that room realised that this is the best way forward,” McIlroy said. “We have all made a commitment to get together more often to make the product more compelling.”

McIlroy also said he had spoken to Cameron Smith, who has been strongly linked with joining LIV, two days after the Australian beat him to the Open Championship at St Andrews. “I don’t care if they leave or not, it’s not going to make a difference to me, but I would at least like people to make a decision that is completely informed,” he said.

McIlroy also revealed some details of his joint venture with Woods, in which six three-man teams compete in a “high-tech golf league” on 15 Monday evenings, starting in January 2024. The 18-hole contests will take just two hours to complete.