2024 PGA Tour schedule takeaways: 12 biggest winners and losers
The scheduling business never stops in professional golf — not even with the PGA Tour postseason right in front of us.
On Thursday morning, Golfweek‘s Eamon Lynch shared details on the 2024 PGA Tour schedule (the Tour will release the official schedule next week), providing a glimpse into the shape of professional golf in the wake of significant structural changes brought by the growth of LIV Golf.
At first glance, the new schedule looks…familiar. There are 52 televised events; a host of Tour staples like the Memorial Tournament, the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Genesis Invitational; and a pair of FedEx Cup Playoff events leading into the Tour Championship. To the layfan, the sweeping changes promised by the new PGA Tour landscape are hardly noticeable at all.
But a closer look reveals things have changed considerably, from the proliferation of limited-field, no-cut events to the expansion of the elevated/designated/”signature” events that hold a rarefied place on the golf mantel.
So, what does it all mean for you? Let’s take a moment to review the 12 biggest winners and losers.
12 winners and losers from the 2024 PGA Tour schedule
1. “Signature” events: Winner
What are the signature events? A quick recap: the “signatures” are 16 big-money events the PGA Tour has created to live in a tier above the “typical” PGA Tour event. In ’24, the “signature” events will be the four majors, the Players Championship, the FedEx Cup Playoff events, the Invitationals and a handful of other select events (more on these later).
Is it likely the Tour will change its mind about what the signature events — formerly “designated” and “elevated” — are called in the next 15 minutes? Yes. But no matter the name, the events are sure to bring the PGA Tour a few key things: 1) the best players in golf under the same roof more often, 2) the best players in golf receiving the biggest paychecks and 3) the biggest events on the PGA Tour receiving the most attention.
In 2024, there will be 16 “signature events,” one fewer than in 2023. But there’s little doubt these tournaments will be cash cows — both for the Tour and its players.
2. Playing requirements: Loser
Last year, the Tour broke a long-standing golf faux pas by requiring player attendance at the signature events. Under the new system, those who didn’t show at the signature events would be forced to forgo a multimillion-dollar bonus from the Tour’s Player Impact Program.
At the time the rule was enacted, it was deeply unpopular among those players who view their playing freedom as tantamount to their pro-golf birthright. In April, the rule came under even further scrutiny when Rory McIlroy was forced to give up $3 million after he skipped the RBC Heritage on the other side of a stunning MC at the Masters.
In 2024, players will be relieved to find that all playing requirements have been lifted. Those who wish to play in the Tour’s biggest events can do so, while those who wish to pass up the sizable purses can do so in peace.
3. Cutlines: Winner
There was some real chatter that the PGA Tour would abolish cuts in all of its signature events for 2024, but it seems that fate has been at least partially avoided.
The Sentry Tournament of Champions and FedEx Cup Playoffs will remain no-cut events in ’24, as they have been in years past. The AT&T, RBC Heritage, Wells Fargo and Travelers will join them as newly minted no-cut events.
But the Invitationals — the Genesis, Arnold Palmer Invitational and Memorial — and the Players Championship will maintain cuts in ’24. That is an important detail, if an unsurprising one, considering Genesis host Tiger Woods’ vocal opposition to no-cut events.
4. The AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am: Winner
For a while, there was an argument to be made that no tournament was a bigger loser of the signature events model than the AT&T, which went from one of the Tour’s premier spots to one of its most sparsely attended tournaments in the span of a year. This year? The AT&T may be the golf schedule’s biggest winner.
In ’23, the AT&T was tucked between the Genesis and the Waste Management, making it a necessary off-week for those gearing up for the meat of the schedule. In ’24, though, the AT&T has been elevated into “signature event” status, meaning it now will find itself one of the most attractive events on the golf calendar
That’s great news for one of the Tour’s top annual venues (if not its top annual venue), and great news for a long-time sponsor, AT&T, who will get to bask in the glow of the golf spotlight all week in Monterrey.
5. The WM Phoenix Open: Loser
Conversely, the Phoenix Open was arguably the PGA Tour’s biggest success story in ’23, but now finds itself one of the schedule’s big losers in ’24 after it was bumped from the signature event schedule in favor of the AT&T.
One imagines some of golf’s biggest stars will still find their way to TPC Scottsdale, which has long been one of the Tour’s favorite parties. But it’ll be hard to match the hype around last year’s event, when the Super Bowl and signature event status combined to give the Tour a true destination tournament.
The WM was a signature event for the Tour before such things existed; it’s hard to understand the calculus that led to this coming out of the rotation.
6. Myrtle Beach: Winner
The Tour adds a new event in ’24 from one of golf’s true bell-cow locations: Myrtle Beach, S.C. The Myrtle Beach Classic will be an opposite-field event in ’24 held during Wells Fargo week, meaning it won’t attract nearly the sort of high-profile talent as many of its PGA Tour siblings. Still, that’s no reason to discount the event, which will bring golf’s biggest tour back to one of its most popular buddies’ destinations.
7. The Honda Classic: Loser
The longest-running title sponsor in PGA Tour history is no more in ’24. The event formerly known as the Honda Classic will continue in ’24, but it’ll have a new name, and a new sponsor. For now, that event is being called the “Palm Beach Classic,” but expect we’ll have new sponsor information once the schedule drops officially. In the meantime, though, it’s time to say goodbye to one of golf’s all-time favorite bits: the floating car.
8. The Memorial Tournament: Winner (Mostly)
The Memorial retains its signature event status in ’24, which is good, considering the invitational hosted by Jack Nicklaus should always be in the signature event rotation. It also retains its cutline, which Nicklaus has indicated is an important part of his tournament’s competitive integrity. Those are both big wins.
It does not, however, maintain its slot on the schedule, and that could prove somewhat problematic. As opposed to previous years when the Memorial was contested two weeks before the U.S. Open, the event will be held the week before the U.S. Open in ’24 and two weeks before another signature event, the Travelers Championship.
Fortunately, the national championship is just a few hours by plane away in Pinehurst, and Connecticut (home of the Travelers) is just a short flight from Pinehurst. That means travel won’t be too challeging for players. But back-to-back-to-back starts in the meat of the golf season with a tough major in the middle? That’s suboptimal.
9. The Canadian Open: Loser
It’s hard to know if the new Tour schedule constitutes a better or worse outcome for the Canadian Open, which found itself smushed between the Memorial and the U.S. Open/Travelers in ’23.
Slated for the week before the Memorial-U.S. Open-Travelers swing in ’24, the Canadian Open again finds itself one of the year’s toughest draws for top talent. That’s a shame considering the Canadian — like the Phoenix Open — is one of the best environments in golf.
10. The Olympics: Winner
Golf returns to the Olympic Games in ’24 in Paris, and the new Tour schedule leaves plenty of leeway for the biggest names to find themselves in attendance. There are no signature events within two weeks of the Olympics (July 29-Aug. 4) on either side, which should open the runway for renewed player intrigue.
Just three years ago, the buzz (or lack thereof) surrounding men’s involvement in the Tokyo Olympics was one of the biggest stories in the sport. It’s still possible that could be a storyline again, but the Tour has gone out of its way to make sure that’s not the case.
11. The players: Winner
Not the tournament but rather the collective, who find themselves with plenty of big-money opportunities to run alongside increased schedule freedom in 2024. There’s never been a richer — erhm, better — time to be a pro golfer than right now, and this new schedule reflects it.
12. The players: Loser
You try to pick a reasonable playing schedule from that lot of huge-money events, majors, Olympics and traditional Tour stops. It ain’t easy, and in ’24, it’s sure not getting any easier.