PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan was tight-lipped when asked about three overseas events worth $US20 million ($A29 million) that will be added to the US circuit at the end of 2023.
Speaking at the Travelers Championship, Monahan revealed a tweaked schedule that will see five existing tournaments with significantly inflated prizemoney take place during the PGA Tour’s regular season – which will also be shortened – before a trio of global events in the fall (September to November) portion of the 2023/24 season.
Monahan’s announcement came as LIV Golf – a rival league headed up by Greg Norman and financed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund – announced Brooks Koepka as arguably its most significant signing to date.
LIV Golf had begun with older stars such as Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson but recently signed young guns Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed, Abraham Ancer and four-time Major winner Koepka.
Australian Golf Digest on Tuesday reported via sources that the three international events are set to take place in Asia, the Middle East and Europe, and that the PGA Tour is considering rotating the Asia stop around the region. That rota may include Australia.
The sources, who were present at a player meeting on Tuesday, said the three regions were discussed as options for the overseas tournaments.
On Wednesday, Monahan said the trio had not been finalised by the board or the PGA Tour’s Player Advisory Council (PAC). The PAC is not currently represented by any player from the Australasia region.
“We have spent a lot of time with our Player Advisory Council and with our board,” Monahan said during a press conference at the Travelers Championship in Connecticut. “We’re considering a lot of different or several different iterations of what that will be. I expect that in the coming months, we’ll finalise that and then once we have, we’ll certainly lay it out and lay it out in great detail.”
It had been rumoured the overseas events were going to be where the PGA Tour would introduce a teams format to counter that of LIV Golf’s teams component. Monahan did not touch on that, but said they would be no-cut, limited-field events which would draw their fields from the top 50 on the previous season’s FedExCup standings and top performers from the fall series.
“Ultimately, the top 50 players from the FedExCup season are going to have an extraordinary opportunity and we’re excited to create a new series and to celebrate, to celebrate that with them,” Monahan said.
The schedule news comes after Australian Golf Digest reported last week that Australia is rumoured to be in line for an LIV Golf tournament when the rival league is expanded from eight to 14 tournaments for its second season. Sources said a representative would travel to Australia towards the end of 2022 to evaluate potential venues for an event in Melbourne.
When LIV Golf first announced Norman as its chief executive, many hoped the two-time Open Championship winner would help Australia land a star-studded global tournament.
Cameron Smith told AGD last week he felt the PGA Tour should have an annual tournament in Australia and hoped that was a byproduct of the current divide in professional golf. With LIV Golf no doubt wanting to spread its reach globally, the PGA Tour could make a strategic move and stage a regular event Down Under.
“It would be nice if our region was looked after in all of this,” Smith said at the US Open last week. “I think the (2019) Presidents Cup was a great spectacle in Melbourne and I think Aussies want that level of golf more often. Hopefully something happens (in that regard).”
The European Tour, which is now called the DP World Tour and is engaged in a strategic alliance with the PGA Tour, announced it would co-sanction the Australian Open this year. The DP World Tour already co-sanctions the Australian PGA Championship.