The PGA Tour is making significant changes to upcoming events in its effort to keep up with the rapid evolution of professional golf.
On Tuesday, the PGA Tour’s policy board agreed on changes to its 2023-2024 schedule, including smaller fields in designated events and eliminating the two-day cut rule in these elevated tournaments.
PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan announced these changes to PGA members in a memo sent out on Wednesday.
“After careful consideration of several options, I’m excited to announce that we are moving forward with what we are calling the Designated Event Model,” Monahan wrote, according to Golf Digest.
Monahan explained that the moves will “transform and set the future direction” of the PGA Tour, as ESPN reported.
In 2024, eight designated events will have a field of fewer than 80 players and no cut. The move is seen as a direct counter to competitor LIV Golf’s smaller fields, high purses, and no-cut format, according to Golf Channel.
Last year, the PGA Tour announced it would introduce four additional designated events and raise purses to $20 million for each event.
The elimination of the cut is a fan-friendly move, partly to ensure that the Tour’s top players will be playing all four days on TV instead of possibly missing the cut and being eliminated from play on the weekend, which is the most lucrative TV time for the sponsors.
“It keeps the stars at the weekend. [Sponsors] want a guarantee that the stars are there. So if that’s what needs to happen, then that’s what happens,” Rory McIlroy said at the Arnold Palmer Invitational this week, according to Golf Digest.
The decision has received some backlash from golf fans, who fear that dropping the 2-day cut rule in these top events will ruin some of the integrity of the tournament, and the exclusive nature of the designated events will hinder some of the meritocracies of professional golf. Others fear the PGA Tour is becoming too much like its competitor.
McIlroy downplayed the decision to move to more no-cut events.
“We’ve always had no-cut events on this tour,” McIlroy said, according to Golf Digest. “The only reason no-cut events are a big deal is because LIV has come along.”
The Designated Event Model is seen as a move to help entice top talent to stay on the PGA Tour and not defect to rival LIV Golf, according to Golf Digest.
Players who qualify for the BMW Championship from the previous year’s FedEx Cup Playoffs will automatically be eligible for the following year’s designated events. In addition, any player who wins a tournament on the Tour will be eligible for all designated events in the 2024 season, according to USA Today.