While some in the golf world enjoy the idea of the new Premier Golf League, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan is not one of them.
Monahan made it clear in a letter sent to golfers on Monday where the Tour stands on the proposed new tour, drawing a very definitive line in the sand.
“If the Team Golf Concept or another iteration of this structure becomes a reality in 2022 or at any time before or after, our members will have to decide whether they want to continue to be a member of the PGA Tour or play on a new series,” Monahan said, via the Golf Channel.
The idea for the Premier Golf League was laid out this month by the World Golf Group, which wants to create a tour where 48 players compete in an 18-tournament schedule with $10 million purses at each event, according to ESPN. There would be no cut in the 54-hole events, and it would have both individual and team-league formats, per the report. The league, should it move forward, hopes to start in either 2022 or 2023.
Monahan attacked the funding behind the Premier Golf League in the letter, too, saying they’re focused on “securing player commitments first as they have no sponsorship or media offerings or rights.” He also referenced “funding from Saudi interests” as a potential income source for the new tour, according to the Golf Channel.
Under the Tour’s current policy, players are allowed just three conflicting event “releases,” per the Golf Channel, something that Monahan said will be strictly enforced. For example, Tour players wanting to compete in European Tour events throughout the year must receive a release from the Tour to do so.
Monahan also said the new tour is designed only to conflict with PGA Tour events and not the four major championships — The Masters, the PGA Championship, the U.S. Open and The Open Championship — which are all run by separate entities.
Mixed support from players
While some players don’t want to comment on the idea yet, given that it’s still in the early stages, others have expressed interest. Both Brooks Koepka, the top-ranked golfer in the world, and Dustin Johnson said they have been approached about the idea, too.
Ernie Els, who was involved in a similar failed concept earlier in his career, said he “loves” the idea.
“I do think it has a chance,” Els said, via ESPN. "If the players support it, then it's a done deal. If you have the top players in the world supporting an adventure like this it will go because that's where television will go and the fans will follow. So it's really up to the existing top world players.”
While a new Tour could be exciting, and could generate a new audience for the sport around the world, reigning FedExCup winner Rory McIlroy was much more cautious than some of his counterparts.
He was, though, hopeful that the idea could actually spark improvements on the PGA Tour.
“I love the PGA Tour, I love the way golf is set up right now, so it might be that — it might be the catalyst for something a little bit different out here as well, who knows,” McIlroy said, via ESPN. “But I certainly wouldn't want to lose what's been built in the last 40 or 50 years, tournaments like [Farmers Insurance Open], tournaments like [the Genesis Invitational] in a couple weeks' time, everything that we have gotten to know and love over the years.
“I'm still quite a traditionalist, so to have that much of an upheaval in the game I don't think is the right step forward. But I think it might be a catalyst for some changes on this Tour that can help it grow and move forward and reward the top players the way they should be, I guess.”
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