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PGA Tour to rely on loyalty, legacy

by Doug Ferguson AP Golf Writer | June 23, 2022 at 1:54 a.m.
PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan speaks during a news conference before the start of the Travelers Championship golf tournament at TPC River Highlands, Wednesday, June 22, 2022, in Cromwell, Conn. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

GOLF

PGA Tour relying on loyalty, legacy

CROMWELL, Conn. -- Commissioner Jay Monahan says the PGA Tour can't win an "arms race" against Saudi-funded LIV Golf when the weapon is money. His response Wednesday was to boost prize money in eight elite events and rely on loyalty and legacy among his players.

Monahan delivered another round of stinging criticism against Greg Norman and his rival league. LIV Golf has snagged players who have combined to win nine majors in the last five years, including Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau.

The latest to sign was Koepka, whose deal with LIV Golf was announced just as Monahan began his first press conference in three months at the Travelers Championship.

"I am not naive," Monahan said. "If this is an arms race and if the only weapons here are dollar bills, the PGA Tour can't compete. The PGA Tour, an American institution, can't compete with a foreign monarchy that is spending billions of dollars in attempt to buy the game of golf.

"We welcome good, healthy competition. The LIV Saudi golf league is not that," he said. "It's an irrational threat, one not concerned with the return on investment or true growth of the game."

The tour, however, appears to be trying to keep up. Monahan said an increase in prize money was in the works from its latest media rights deal it signed in 2020, noting the threat of LIV Golf accelerated some of those plans.

He announced a streamlined schedule -- January to August starting in 2024 -- with seven tournaments worth $20 million or more and fewer spots available for its postseason. The top 125 qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs. Next year, only the top 70 will be eligible.

Monahan cited Masters champion Scottie Scheffler, who earlier Wednesday was unusually vocal in his support of the PGA Tour. Scheffler had not won on the PGA Tour until February, and then he won four times in two months to reach No. 1 in the world.

He already has set a PGA Tour record for season earnings at nearly $12.9 million.

"If you're good enough, you will rise to the top," Monahan said.

  photo  PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan speaks during a news conference before the start of the Travelers Championship golf tournament at TPC River Highlands, Wednesday, June 22, 2022, in Cromwell, Conn. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
 
 
  photo  PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan speaks during a news conference before the start of the Travelers Championship golf tournament at TPC River Highlands, Wednesday, June 22, 2022, in Cromwell, Conn. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
 
 
  photo  Rory McIlroy, front right, shakes hands with PGA Commissioner Jay Monahan after winning the Canadian Open golf tournament in Toronto, Sunday, June 12, 2022. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)
 
 

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