PGA Tour fall offers spots in Masters and $20 million events
By DOUG FERGUSON
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) A trip to the Masters and a chance to play in two $20 million tournaments are among the incentives for PGA Tour players to play this fall if they don't reach the FedEx Cup playoffs.
The PGA Tour sent out a memo Monday that offered a few more details on the overhaul that starts in 2024, and Commissioner Jay Monahan is scheduled to be in San Antonio this week to answer any questions from players.
What previously was announced is the top 70 in the FedEx Cup advance to the postseason. The top 50 who reached the BMW Championship - the second playoff event - are locked in for all eight designated events that offer a $20 million prize fund.
The fall schedule, which hasn't been announced, is open to everyone. The FedEx Cup points list that starts in January will continue into the fall, but only for those players who finish outside the top 50.
Winners still get an invitation to the Masters, and it gets them to Kapalua for the Sentry Tournament of Champions. The extended FedEx Cup points list will be used to determine the leading 10 players who will get into the two designated events after Hawaii (presumably Pebble Beach and Riviera).
After that, the 2024 FedEx Cup standings will be used to fill those 10 spots.
The tour also provided clarity on the five players who get into $20 million events under the “swing” category. Those will be determined by a separated points list of full-field tournaments between designated events.
Once that designated event is over, however, the “swing” category starts anew. Whatever points such a player earns in a designated event won't count toward the next one.
Now officials have to figure out where to place the five other designated events after the West Coast swing to keep them properly spaced.
Also, anyone winning a PGA Tour event (except for opposite-field events) will be eligible for every designated event the rest of the year. Opposite-field event winners get 300 points, which likely would make them eligible through the current FedEx Cup standings or the swing category.
The memo said 750 points would be awarded to the winner of the four majors and The Players Championship, 700 points for the designated events and 500 points to everything else (except for opposite fields, which get 300).
Still to be determined are any restriction on who gets the four sponsor exemptions to the $20 million event, and when to reshuffle the ranking of new members coming from the Korn Ferry Tour (30 players), the European tour (10) and Q-school (5).
The Masters will be the third major that brings together players from LIV Golf with players who stayed loyal to their tours. As far as CBS Sports is concerned, all are at Augusta National by invitation and trying to win a green jacket.
“Listen, we're not going to cover up or hide anything,” Sean McManus, the chairman of CBS Sports, said in a conference call. “As I said, our job is to cover the golf tournament. We're not going to show any different treatment of the golfers who play on the LIV tour than we do for the other golfers. And if there's a pertinent point that we feel we should bring up on our coverage ... we're not going to put our heads in the sand.
“Having said that, unless it really affects the story that's taking place on the golf course, we're not going to out of our way to cover it,” he said. “But I'm not sure there's anything we could add to the story as it already exists.”
NBC and Golf Channel had the U.S. Open and British Open, when LIV Golf was still just starting. Plus, the other two majors were held before LIV players first filed an antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour.
On the European tour, Rory McIlroy and Patrick Reed had an uncomfortable exchange on the driving range in Dubai, and then they came down to the wire before McIlroy won.
How appealing would it be to have a PGA Tour player and a LIV Golf player in contention?
“We're not cheerleaders,” said Sellers Shy, the lead golf producer for CBS. “Whoever is on that leaderboard, then we're covering them, because they're invited to the Masters.”
The LPGA Tour is going back to Malaysia and restoring what could have been another gap in the Asia swing.
The Maybank Championship will be Oct. 26-29 at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club, replacing the void created when the Taiwan Swinging Skirts LPGA was canceled. The Maybank Championship will have a 78-player field and a $3 million purse.
The Maybank Championship was a European Tour and Asian Tour event from 2016 through 2019 until being canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The LPGA Tour previously played the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia at Kuala Lumpur from 2010 until that ended in 2017.
“The LPGA and Maybank’s shared values around elevating and empowering women make this an important partnership for us in this region of the world,” LPGA Commissioner Mollie Marcoux Samaan said.
The Maybank Championship would allow for at least a three-week Asia swing in October that would now go from South Korea to Malaysia to Japan before the tour wraps up in Florida. Still on the schedule, the week before South Korea, is an event in Shanghai.
The LPGA lost one week of its three-week Asia swing earlier this year when the Blue Bay LPGA on Hainan Island in China was canceled.
LIV Golf took over at Mayakoba, and now the PGA Tour stop at the Mexican resort is moving to the first golf course Tiger Woods designed.
The World Wide Technology Championship will move this year to El Cardonal in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, a course by Woods' design company that opened in 2014.
The tour had been at Mayakoba since 2007. LIV Golf opened its 2023 season at Mayakoba, forcing the tour to find another venue. The date of the tournament has not been decided, but it will be part of the fall schedule.
The question was meant as a joke. Jordan Spieth was asked to estimate the size of the book if caddie Michael Greller wrote down everything he said during a round.
“Big,” Spieth said, before adding as he walked away that he was trying to cut back. That’s been a theme in recent weeks.
Spieth is a dream for golf geeks the way he analyzes shots, before and after he hits them. Put a microphone on him and there would be no need for television commentary. But the goal in the pre-Masters run has been to talk less.
“I’ve been trying to work on just hitting and playing and not talking so much,” he said after his first match in the Dell Match Play. “It doesn’t necessarily affect how I play, but it is a lot less energy used up, it feels like, over the last couple weeks.”
The Match Play ended with Americans winning the last six tournaments. ... Germany has produced four European tour winners in the last eight months - Maximilian Kieffer in the Czech Masters, Yannik Paul in the Mallorca Open, Marcel Siem in the Indian Open and Nick Bachem last week in South Africa. ... Sam Burns joined Geoff Ogilvy (2006) and Jeff Maggert (1999) as the only players to win the Match Play on their first attempt. ... U.S. Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick will be playing the Zurich Classic of New Orleans with his brother, Alex. ... The field for the eight-team International Crown will be decided after the DIO Implant Open on the LPGA Tour. Danielle Kang has the fourth and final spot on the U.S. team at No. 15 in the world, five spots ahead of Jennifer Kupcho. The tight race is for Australia. Grace Kim is in the fourth and final spot. She is No. 177 in the world, while Sarah Kemp is at No. 178. The International Crown is May 4-7 at Harding Park in San Francisco.
Celine Boutier won the LPGA Drive On Championship and moved to No. 8 in the world. She is the first French player - male or female - to be in the top 10 of the world ranking.
“I also was thinking, ‘If I’m going to miss my flight, I'm going to make sure I win this thing.' I'm not losing and missing my flight.” - Celine Boutier on her playoff win over Georgia Hall in the LPGA Drive On Championship.
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Updated March 28, 2023