The PGA Tour’s Player Advisory Council gathered overnight for a regularly scheduled meeting that included a discussion of ways that the tour can improve its model in the face of an existential threat from a proposed Saudi-backed league offering players millions to make the jump.
A player with direct knowledge of the meeting said the proposed league, expected to be launched by the Greg Norman-led LIV Golf Investments in the near future, was talked about but only briefly. “At a certain point, you have to trust your own product,” the player said, “and there’s only so much you can control.”
A separate but potentially related topic of conversation during the meeting, however, focused on possible alterations to the autumn portion of the PGA Tour schedule, which has been mentioned as a target for change in recent years. While nothing is finalised, a source told Golf Digest that the council discussed the idea of having a series that is not tied to the FedEx Cup or the Official World Golf Ranking and instead uses the American autumn to experiment with different tournament formats. Multiple team concepts were discussed, including a model similar to a college golf tournament that could feature six-man teams with a certain number of scores counting each day.
Changes to the early part of the season would allow top players to take an extended “offseason” break without falling behind in the world ranking or the FedEx Cup points race.
Players also discussed how the tour’s revenue will be split in the future, which has emerged as a hot-button topic since Phil Mickelson claimed only 26 percent of revenue finds its way to the players. The tour has firmly rejected that number and has said that 55 percent of consolidated revenue goes to the players. Mickelson, who said he’s been contacted by the Saudi league, told Golf Digest in a recent interview that the PGA Tour’s “obnoxious greed” has him looking elsewhere.
Results of the election for the co-chairmen of the council were announced at the meeting. Peter Malnati and Webb Simpson were victorious, defeating Patrick Cantlay and Billy Horschel, and will join Rory McIlroy and Charley Hoffman on the PGA Tour’s policy board beginning next year. Malnati and Simpson will replace James Hahn and Kevin Kisner on the board, which advises commissioner Jay Monahan on matters affecting players, beginning in 2023.
Hoffman, who took to Instagram last week to criticise the PGA Tour for a ruling and suggest that a lack of accountability and protection for players is a main reason guys are considering the rival league, was present for the meeting. A source said Hoffman stood up and apologised for the way he handled the situation and the post, which has since been deleted from Instagram.
The tour will hold a players meeting at next week’s Honda Classic, where Monahan is expected to address membership and provide details on the tour’s position regarding the rival league.
PHOTO: Caryn Levy