PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – All the focus of the changes coming to the PGA Tour has been on the reaction of players to the designated event model to be implemented beginning in 2024. But as one PGA Tour tournament director was quick to point out the real story is this — how do the people who are being asked to foot the bill feel about it?
After all, there are no big-money purses without sponsors. And the elephant in the room is how non-elevated events feel about paying the same amount of money for potentially inferior fields.
So, Golfweek asked a bunch and while initially tournament directors and sponsors of non-designated events were grumbling that they would be shut out of luring top players without finding creative ways to incentivize them to do so, that sentiment has shifted as the PGA Tour has begun communicating its messaging.
As he was headed to Tampa to prep for next week’s Valspar Championship, which his company operates, Hollis Cavner stopped to say that he had sat down with Tour officials, who walked him through the changes to the Tour schedule, and said, “they made me a believer.”
“I went in with an open mind and came out feeling real good. This is good for us,” he said. “Once you see how it is going to work, it’s clear that it’s going to be very good for elevated events and darn good for non-designated events. I think other sponsors will see it, too.”
Cavner’s company, Pro Links Sports, also operates the 3M Open and Kady Stoll, 3M’s vice president of global partnerships, was equally encouraged after meeting with Tour brass on Wednesday at the Players.
“The focus this week has been on the designated events, but with the top 70 cut off instead of top 125 qualifying for the FedEx Cup playoffs where we are in the schedule will lend itself to a stronger field,” she explained. “Then since only the top 50 through the Tour Championship will qualify for those eight designated events the 3M Open fields should be deeper top to bottom and we do think some of the top stars will complement their schedule above and beyond those events.”
She noted that the Tour’s presentation changed her thinking and made her comfortable that the Tour and the 3M Open would be in “a good place.”
“I was very concerned when I heard the announcement but once we sat down and went through the Tour schedule and how they are spreading out the designated events and having two to three full-field events between those designated it really…
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