PGA Tour stars unified, pushing concepts much like LIV


By Doug Ferguson

The Related Press

ATLANTA — Greg Norman braced for an additional combat with the PGA Tour and was outfitted with what he also known as the tour’s “playbook” from the primary time he tried to start out a rival league.

This model might need an analogous ending.

Norman’s first try to assemble an unique discipline to play for giant cash world wide by no means bought off the bottom. The PGA Tour wielded its political affect, Arnold Palmer stood behind the heritage of the tour and that was that.

After which the PGA Tour stole his concept.

What emerged have been the World Golf Championships, the richest occasions (again when a $5 million purse meant one thing) with no lower and a restricted discipline. Former PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem publicly thanked Norman for his “dedication and solutions of 1994” when the primary WGC was performed.

In that respect, that is beginning to really feel like a repeat.

Reviews over the weekend — probably the most thorough from No Laying Up, which has engaged high gamers on its podcast for years — pointed to a plan to create as much as 15 tournaments providing a number of the richest purses for a restricted discipline of elite gamers.

These have been probably the most pertinent particulars that emerged from a players-only assembly final week. Norman should really feel as if he has seen all this earlier than.

However this was much less about making an attempt to quash Saudi-funded LIV Golf and extra about taking the PGA Tour in a contemporary path that emphasizes its largest names. And what makes this completely different from 1994 is how the motion unfolded.

No Laying Up reported 23 gamers in attendance on the invitation-only assembly. That included — it begins with, actually — Tiger Woods, who flew to Delaware from Florida for the assembly.

“We have to get the highest guys collectively extra typically than we do,” Rory McIlroy mentioned the following morning, the closest any participant got here to a public revelation. “I’m speaking about all in the identical tournaments, all in the identical weeks.”

For now, the plan is someplace between a imaginative and prescient and actuality. The gamers have been in contact with Commissioner Jay Monahan, and he might present a greater sense of the place all of it stands when he speaks Wednesday forward of the Tour Championship.

However the worth of that assembly went far deeper than particulars.

By all accounts, the gamers left impressed, unified and unusually quiet. Xander Schauffele smiled when he referred to the silence as a “code,” which isn’t to counsel he was joking.

Stated one participant, talking on situation of anonymity to honor such a code, “When was the final time all the highest gamers bought collectively in the identical room? That has by no means occurred earlier than.”

It spoke to the possession the gamers have taken of their tour, and their dedication to stave off the best risk skilled golf has confronted.

Price noting is 16 of the highest 20 gamers on the earth rating have been within the room. Amongst these lacking, one didn’t turn out to be a PGA Tour member till three weeks in the past (Tom Kim). One other is reported to be leaving for LIV Golf after this week (Cameron Smith).

Hideki Matsuyama and Sungjae Im might need required translation, although they need to have been included. Matsuyama was mentioned to be curious why he wasn’t invited. Two individuals who know of his plans say the Japanese star is just not going anyplace. They spoke to The Related Press on situation of anonymity as a result of Matsuyama has not mentioned something publicly about his plans.

A few of these gamers nonetheless would possibly go away for LIV at some point. After Brooks Koepka did an about-face within the span of 1 week in June, nobody must be shocked by any defection.

If that’s the case, what they go away behind could be much like what they’re becoming a member of.

If that is the trail ahead for the PGA Tour, is it the reply?

Quick fields, no cuts, large cash. The place you have got heard that one earlier than? Greater than a WGC idea, it sounds prefer it was torn from the gospel of what Norman was preaching, minus the idea of workforce golf with foolish names.

However it is going to have much more relevance beneath the umbrella of a tour, the identification {of professional} golf for greater than 50 years. And it gained’t have the scrutiny over the supply of funding — the Public Funding Fund — that LIV Golf appears to always face.

One different distinction within the playbook is Norman’s first problem in 1994 by no means made it to court docket.

For the three LIV golfers who sought a brief restraining order to compete within the FedEx Cup playoffs, the ruling in opposition to them was a giant setback. At this level, gamers who signal with LIV Golf mustn’t count on to play anyplace on the PGA Tour till at the least 2024, and nearly all of them would possibly miss out on all of the majors except they undergo open qualifiers.

All of the whereas, the PGA Tour might be headed towards a brand new mannequin of small fields, large purses, assured cash due to no cuts and the choice to play different PGA Tour stops which have particular which means to them and nonetheless have a superb purse.

Maybe the tour ought to have considered this sooner.

In the long term, perhaps it’s higher this fashion. One of many messages that got here out of the antitrust lawsuit filed by defectors is that each PGA Tour participant had a proper to really feel like a defendant. “That is your tour,” they have been advised.

Now they’re appearing prefer it actually is.


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