Saturday September 30, 2023

Bombshell PGA Tour-LIV Merger Leaves Unanswered Competitive Questions

  • Details remain scarce on how differing formats of LIV Golf, PGA Tour will be integrated
  • Reapplication process to be developed for former PGA Tour, DP World Tour players
Barbara Perenic / USA TODAY NETWORK
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The stunning PGA Tour-LIV Golf-DP World Tour merger represents a most unlikely pairing of competing personalities, ideologies, and business models.

But the deal has raised another fundamental question: How is the golf going to work?

The union theoretically brings together the traditional large-field, cut-based competition of the PGA Tour and the small-field, no-cut tournaments of LIV Golf. Details of the future competitive format are scarce, but several key elements are in place:

  • The team-based concept championed by LIV Golf will transfer to the new entity.
  • Players who left the PGA Tour or DP World Tour to join LIV Golf can reapply to those tours after the 2023 season.
  • The PGA Tour, LIV Golf, and DP Tour will collaborate on a “fair and objective process” for player reapplication, with existing PGA Tour rules guiding that effort.
  • The remaining 2023 LIV Golf schedule is unchanged.
  • Majors already allowing all qualifying players — such as the Masters — have predictably cheered the deal.

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan insisted in a letter to players that the organization’s “pro-competitive model remains intact” in the new structure.

Another undetermined element is the future compensation structure. LIV Golf transformed the sport with its nine-figure player signing bonuses and $25 million tournament purses, forcing the PGA Tour to respond with unprecedented hikes in prize money, reaching $20 million for top 2023 events.

Impact To Women’s Game

The merger could also make a seismic impact on the women’s game, as LIV Golf recently expressed interest in forming its own circuit to rival the LPGA.

LPGA commissioner Mollie Marcoux Samaan said “a fractured ecosystem is not good for the game, and we look forward to learning what today’s announcement means.”

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