“It certainly feels like the era of the ‘cut’ might be over forever” were the remarks of a prominent DP World Tour player in response to news that the PGA Tour is to roll out a series of limited-field, no-cut ‘designated’ events from the 2024 season.
There have been some worrying developments in the world of professional golf over the last 18 months, but this feels like a potentially seismic change.
On the surface, it might not seem overly significant – we’ve had limited-field events before in the shape of the WGCs and the FedExCup Playoffs restrict numbers, after all. But this proposal would effectively create a two-tour system within golf’s biggest professional circuit, ensuring the game’s best players barely have to play in non-Major cut events if they don’t want to.
And why would they want to? Fewer events with higher purses and a better chance of winning sounds fairly appealing, doesn’t it? It also sounds exactly like a rival tour whose inauguration has caused so much consternation and changed the landscape of men’s professional golf forever.
On Wednesday, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan announced 12 designated events would be introduced from the 2024 season. It’s not a closed ecosystem that only benefits the stars, though draw your own conclusions about the genesis of a series of 70- to 78-player events with massive purses. Mini point lists from clusters of regular events determine the second-tier players who qualify for the elevated tournaments – the idea is that three regular events are followed by two elevated events.
In terms of how the 70-78 players will be selected, it’s the top 50 on the previous season’s FedExCup points list, the top ten not otherwise qualified from the current FedExCup points list, five players not otherwise qualified who earn the most points in each “collection” of regular events, PGA Tour members in the world’s top 30 and four sponsors invites.
Those in favour will argue it looks after the best players while providing opportunities for lesser lights who typically draw less fanfare. Those opposed will say it’s the start of a top-heavy system that makes the rich even richer, both in terms of remuneration and opportunity. The argument trotted out at various press conferences was that it guarantees top players will be there for all four days, thereby increasing…
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