PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan sent an email to players on Monday warning against joining any new rival Golf Tour after talks resurfaced of a potential global Tour last week.
Talks of a global golf Tour have been around for over two decades, but things seemed to escalate last week as news began to circulate that organisers of British Based company World Golf Group were making another bid to begin a new Tour, named ‘Premier Golf League’.
In an extensive Q&A, PGL outlined to media that the proposed Tour would feature the world’s top 48 be comprised of 18 events a year in a span of eight months, with each tournament boasting prize money of $10 million. Ten of the 18 events would be in the United States, and each event would have three rounds with no cut. The final and 18th tournament would be a team play- off, using ‘a seeded, match play format, to decide the league winners.’
And while the PGA Tour had initially offered little more response to it than saying “We don’t comment on the business of other tours, real or hypothetical,” it has since emerged that PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan did send a letter on Monday to its players.
Speaking at the Saudi International, both World No.1 Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson were asked about the email that was sent, the content of which has now been confirmed by Golf Digest.
At the time, neither players had talked about the content of the letter, with DJ telling reporters “I got an e-mail recently. I haven’t read it yet. Probably read it right after this.”
Koepka on the other hand, said he doesn’t have enough information to talk about the potential new Tour until he has all the facts, but hinted that the PGA Tour’s response was a what he expected.
“I mean, what do you think their response is going to be when something comes along the way?” he said.
“I saw the e-mail last night before I was going to bed. We’ve heard talks about it for a while. I was only brought up-to-date, I think on January 4th where it was more of — instead of hearing about it for a couple years, okay, I think this might actually happen.
“I’m always going to speak my mind and tell you what I think, and I think everybody in this room knows that, but I just couldn’t know enough to genuinely have an opinion or know — know enough to speak on it. So I’m kind of — don’t really — I don’t really have much to say on it because I don’t know all the facts.”
According to Digest, Monahan warned that the concept was set-up to compete and conflict with current PGA Tour events, while making clear his stance on whether players could potentially compete in both Tours. The message? It’s us or them.
“The schedule for the Team Golf Concept is designed to directly compete and conflict with the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup schedule, and to not conflict with [and would be in addition to] the Masters, PGA Championship, U.S. Open and the Open Championship,” Monahan said in the email sent out on Monday.
“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.”
According to No Laying Up’s Tron Carter, the email ‘also acknowledges that the team golf concept ‘recently secured funding from Saudi interests and are offering potentially large financial guarantees to the 12 player-owners of teams.”
What have the players said?
“Those guys have been talking to a few of us for six years.
“They approached me at the end of 2014. They have exploited a couple of holes in the system the way golf at the highest level is nowadays and how it’s sort of transitioned from a competition tour to entertainment, right? It’s on TV, it’s people coming out to watch. It’s definitely a different time than what it was before.
“I love the PGA Tour, I love the way golf is set up right now. I certainly wouldn’t want to lose what’s been built in the last 40 or 50 years, tournaments like this (Torrey Pines), tournaments like Riviera, everything that we have gotten to know and love over the years. 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’m curious but I don’t know enough to talk about it. I’m listening to it. I think it’s intriguing, but I just don’t know enough about it to comment publicly. I hope to learn more.”
When approached about the prospect of another tour, European Tour’s chief executive Keith Pelley said “We’re not in the habit of talking about the business of other tours, whether they are true or fictional.
“We focus on the business of our tour and the growth that we’re having right now so I don’t really have much more to say.
“I think they’ve been trying to move forward for eight years but I can’t comment on other tours. I wouldn’t comment on the business of the PGA Tour or certainly one that is not real.”
Tiger Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg acknowledged of keeping an eye on talk of a new Tour, while also discussing the ‘wonderful product’ that the PGA Tour offers.
“It seems to resurface at different times. We’ll see if they take it to the next level,” said Steinberg.
“It’s more than a wonderful product that the PGA Tour puts in front of its members, and it seems to get better each year. It’s very stable, it’s becoming more innovative all the time. But, like anything else you have to listen to everyone and all options.
“As long as there is talk this grand, what it might be, you have to at least tell your players what you’re hearing because you don’t want them to hear it on the 1st tee or in the media. To me, its just been a comment I’ve made to the players we work with, and that’s literally all that’s been so far.”