Image via Golf Digest
Earlier today, The PGA called a mandatory meeting for players at the Travelers Championship in Connecticut. While it is still not certain what this meeting will entail, it will certainly address the competing LIV Golf tournament in some way, with insiders suggesting that the PGA is prepared to propose three new tour events, each with a purse of $25 million. While this band-aid solution might prevent some players to leave with the prospect of an additional $75 million, it also highlights other golfers’ criticism of the PGA as an organization.
Golfers such as Phil Mickelson and others have criticized the PGA for their “obnoxious greed” in the past few years, implying that there is a huge disparity between the revenue the PGA Tour makes by putting on events and selling their sponsorships and what they actually pass on to golfers through the purses for events. This is essentially the result of the PGA having a monopoly on Professional Golf tournaments because no matter the size of the purse, players in the past were forced to stay because the PGA was the only option for professional golf.
Beyond just this speculation, the PGA has already announced that the fall portion of the calendar will consist of eight no-cut, big-money events as another form of Hail Mary attempt to keep golfers from jumping ship to LIV Golf.
By announcing these big money events in the fall, the PGA is almost making that criticism more valid. By “magically” coming up with these schemes to keep golfers happy with no-cut big money events, on top of what it already pays in purses, the PGA's implying that they have hordes of cash sitting around that they could use to distribute to golfers but instead have greedily kept for the PGA themselves in the past. If these speculative comments are true and the PGA has decided to have three new events with purses totaling $75 Million, this would further reinforce this idea and sentiment among golfers. While in the short term and at face value both the announced decision about the remaining fall schedule and this highly speculative decision would be a good one to keep golfers from going to LIV Golf, it also makes the PGA look bad and tarnishes their image as an organization. They are essentially confirming the criticisms they've received in recent months—not to mention they are demonstrating through another avenue that they're acting as a monopoly(violating federal anti-trust law).
While the only confirmed aspect so far is the fall schedule for this year, and despite the highly speculative nature of the other rumors, it’s a bad look for the PGA as a business and an organization regardless of if it gets more golfers to stay or not.
Zachary Bryson is a graduate from Wake Forest University with B.A. in Economics and a Minor in Entrepreneurship. He is currently JD candidate at Elon University School of Law, Class of 2023. You can connect with him via LinkedIn or follow him on twitter at @ZacharySBryson.