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Rory McIlroy, players react to schedule changes

Rory McIlroy, players react to schedule changes

Change is coming to the PGA Tour in 2024. Whether that is a good thing depends upon who you ask.

During a board meeting held Tuesday in Orlando ahead of the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Palmer’s Bay Hill Lodge & Club, the Tour approved reducing the size of fields and eliminating the cut at several of its designated events. It also created a pathway for players in the regular events to get promoted to the tournaments with the strongest fields and largest purses. The moves should please sponsors and television honchos, who can rest easy knowing that the biggest names will be guaranteed to play in all four rounds, As for members of the rank-and-file? They may perceive the Tour as becoming more of a closed shop.

“I love it,” said Rory McIlroy, a player director on the Tour’s board. “Obviously I’ve been a part of it and been in a ton of discussions. I think it makes the Tour more competitive. I think we were going that way anyway. You think of the (FedEx Cup) playoffs used to be 125, 70, 30. Obviously this year they have went 70, 50, 30. So I think — like, I’m all about rewarding good play. I’m certainly not about — I want to give everyone a fair shake at this. Which I think this structure has done. There’s ways to play into it. It’s trying to get the top guys versus the hot guys, right? I think that creates a really compelling product. But in a way that you don’t have to wait an entire year for your good play to then get the opportunity. That opportunity presents itself straight away. You play well for two or three weeks, you’re in a designated event. You know then if you keep playing well you stay in them. So, for example, someone like a Chris Kirk last week that wins Honda, he’s set.”

Arnold Palmer Invitational: Photos

But it also is a fundamental change for the Tour, creating designated events that are a cross between the World Golf Championships, which have slowly petered out for a reason, and LIV Golf, which has smaller fields and no cut, too. It likely won’t sit well with the Tour’s rank-and-file, who are going to have fewer playing opportunities. For the fan, part of the appeal of the Tour has always been that it is a true meritocracy and that if a player doesn’t survive the 36-hole cut, he goes home empty-handed.

“I think it’s easy to frame these changes as a way to put more money in the top players’ pockets. But it has been made to make it easier and more fun for the fans,” said Max Homa, a member of…


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