PGA Tour pros mull revamped schedule featuring fall international series
A future in which the main PGA Tour season runs from January to August is coming into focus. GOLF has learned that the Tour’s Player Advisory Council recently discussed a schedule shift for the second time this year, a change that could open the door for a new fall competition series.
As has become customary, the Player Advisory Council — made up of 16 players — met shortly after the Masters, at last week’s RBC Heritage. In the April 12 meeting, the PAC discussed a proposed new schedule format that will focus on the “core” FedEx Cup season and leave room in the fall months for top players to take leave — if they so wish — without losing out on FedEx Cup points and creating a deficit before the meat of the season. During those fall months, the top performers from the FedEx Cup season would be allowed to compete “in a series of newly created international events.”
The PGA Tour’s typical fall event schedule, which in 2021 included nine events, would exist on its own and would serve to “finalize eligibility” for players who didn’t finish as high in the FedEx Cup the previous season.
The idea has gained enough support in recent months for continued discussion at PGA Tour government meetings for both the PAC and the Policy Board, the latter of which would eventually decide its viability in a vote. The concept was first proposed in February during the Genesis Invitational, and was initially reported by GolfChannel.com. According to that report, the top 50 players from that year’s FedEx Cup would be able to compete in a three-event team series with guaranteed purses.
The most recent update provided to players came in a monthly newsletter sent to all Tour members Monday, in which the Tour called the meeting a “healthy discussion” and noted that talks would continue at the upcoming PAC meeting in late May at the Memorial Tournament.
The reasoning behind this, at least according to the Tour, is “to further evolve the PGA Tour product to strengthen our business and improve our global pathway, create valuable media and sponsorship rights in the future and to align with common themes we hear from top players.”
This discussion comes during a time in which rival golf tours are not only lurking but also growing dangerously closer to viability. LIV Golf, the Saudi-backed league led by Greg Norman, has already released a tournament schedule touting eye-popping purse figures. In recent days, the PGA Tour has received release requests from Tour members to take part in the rival league’s first event, a $25 million invitational in London in early June.
On Monday, Phil Mickelson’s agent confirmed that Mickelson — who has been taking an extended leave of absence in the wake of explosive comments that were made public about the Tour and its perceived rivals — was one of those players applying for a release. The first event of the LIV Golf Invitational schedule takes place June 9-11, one week prior to the U.S. Open at Brookline in Massachusetts.
Mickelson’s request is not a confirmation that he will play in that event, but he was reportedly joined by 14 other top 100 players who registered to play.