Monahan Announces More Ways PGA Tour Players Will Make Money

PGA Tour, Jay Monahan,(Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)
PGA Tour, Jay Monahan,(Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images) /

PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan gave his annual press conference at the Tour Championship this week. In a fairly drastic change from the past, the announcements were about money. Quite a lot of money, in fact, that can be earned by PGA Tour players.

For most of the last 54 years, PGA Tour commissioners have not talked about money or purses as a focus of their statements to media. They’ve steered the conversation to giving back through various charitable organizations and talked about the quality of the competition. And that’s because the Tour has raised several billion, with a B, dollars for charity.

This year, partly because of LIV golf, the dollar sign is front and center.

“Our commitment is to grow earnings across the membership,” Monahan said. “There’s no doubt that earnings at the highest end of the membership have and will continue to grow at an accelerated level.”

Monahan called the Tour a meritocracy, the kind of organization where all players have the opportunity to advance and become the best in the world, or at least the best they can be.

“If established players fail to earn a spot, someone else who is hungry and talented is right there to take their place,” Monahan noted.

The proof is in front of us this week with two rookies in the field at the Tour Championship: Sahith Theegala and Cameron Young.

Now on to the actual money.  The PGA Tour had already announced increases in purses for several tournaments next year.  But wait, there’s more.  Plus there are player commitments to participate in events.

The top 20 PGA Tour players will commit to playing in 20 tournaments which include:

  • FedEx Cup Playoffs, The Genesis Invitational, The Arnold Palmer Invitational, The Memorial, and the WGC Dell Match Play, all of which have $20 million purses.
  • The Sentry Tournament of Champions, with a $15 million purse.
  • The Players Championship, with a $25 million purse, still the largest single purse all season on the PGA Tour.
  • The Masters, PGA, US Open, and British Open.
  • Four additional PGA Tour events to be named in the next 45 to 60 days with $20 million purses.  Those events may rotate with different tournaments getting the big purses in different years.
  • And three additional tournaments of the player’s choice.

Players who are in the top 20 are defined by the Player Impact Program, called PIP, and those who finish in the top 20 in the future. And there’s more money for that. It’s year by year so just because they were in this year doesn’t mean they will be in next year. They have to keep up.

"“We’re doubling the payout from $50 million to $100 million effective with the 2022 final standings, and we’re revising the criteria to better capture awareness from casual and core fans, removing the Q-school and social media metrics,” Monahan announced."

They have also doubled the number of recipients from 10 to 20.

There will, a Tour media official said, be less emphasis on Tweets, Tweet storms and such, than there was in the past.  Instead, players will be evaluated on internet searches, general awareness, golf fan awareness, media mentions, and broadcast exposure.

The latter generally comes as a result of good play or for some off course good work or charitable work.   Media mentions can be driven by the players themselves.

To receive PIP money, players will be measured using a system called MARC, which combines recognition and fan support given by core fans and casual fans and gives a combined value to each player.

As one of the PGA Tour media official explained, Rickie Fowler is already loved by both casual fans and core fans, while someone newer to the Tour, like a Max Homa, may be popular with core fans today, but may be popular with causal fans in the future as they get to know him.

If players don’t play in the required tournaments, they will lose PIP eligibility.

Some of the money for all of these programs comes from reserves, and some comes from tournament sponsors and overall Tour sponsors.  According to Monahan, the PGA Tour, as an organization, is having a very good year and can afford to share some of the wealth now.

This is different from 2020, the pandemic year.

“When you look back to the early days, to April and May of 2020, with the uncertainty that everyone was facing and the uncertainty about whether we’d be able to come back and when we’d be able to come back, there were scenarios clearly that had us using all of our reserves over a relatively short period of time to keep the Tour operational,” Monahan revealed.

"“Having those reserves and all the work, all the sacrifices that prior generations of players made to allow the Tour to build those reserves, that’s what put us in that position.”"

Then, there is new money to help exempt PGA Tour members with the expenses of playing professional golf. Those who are Korn Ferry and above will have a guaranteed minimum of $500,000 per player if they play 15 events.

“As you start a season and you plan for a season, knowing the monies that you have to invest to compete on the greatest Tour in the world at the highest level, there’s significant costs,” Monahan acknowledged. “So, if you’re not able to play for whatever reason, you have that as a backstop.”

For rookies, the money can be accessed on day one because Monahan said the Tour believes it will put the rookies in a “better position to compete because they can invest in the infrastructure they need to succeed.”

The Tour refers to this as the Earnings Assurance Program.

In addition, there’s a missed cut compensation for non-exempt players in the 125-150 category.  Those players who enter a PGA Tour event and miss the cut will be reimbursed $5000 for every missed cut to help with travel expenses.  This does not come out of tournament purses. They call the Travel Stipend Program.

A Deeper Partnership between the PGA and LPGA. dark. Next

More details are sure to be announced in the weeks to come.