Billy Horschel has ideas on how to make the PGA Tour a more compelling and competitive product – and it doesn’t necessarily mean a handful of invitational-style events in the fall for the Tour’s best players.
Horschel’s opinion on how to strengthen the Tour: reduce the number of available Tour cards.
“I think, in my mind, we should make the Tour more competitive,” he said Tuesday ahead of the European Tour’s season-ending DP World Tour Championship. “Maybe instead of giving out 125 cards every year, we cut it down to 100. And we cut down the Korn Ferry Tour cards from 50 to 30. Now you’re getting the better players week in and week out. Guys are sort of happy just finishing on the PGA Tour every year and collecting a million-plus dollars, and that they’re actually striving to the best players on the PGA Tour."
Another idea: changing the payout structure at events. “Where the top 30, 40 guys get paid a lot of money, and then you don’t get paid as much down below, it really pushes guys to do everything they can to be the best player that they can be. By doing that I think that takes care of any other Tour that comes competing against the PGA Tour or the European Tour.
“I think we’re doing great stuff, but I think we need to make sure that we’re looking at all scenarios before we make an ultimate decision on the path forward.”
Horschel, who is a member of the Tour’s Player Advisory Council, said that he is not alone on Tour in sharing that opinion. He added that “handouts” – whether that’s through appearance fees or the Player Impact Program – aren’t the answer to the problem.
“If we look at it at the professional level – and I’m not trying to harp on or knock any other players that are struggling making money or maybe not feeling like they’re getting enough of the fair shake – but I know how hard I work. I know how many hours I put in on a daily basis. I know all the sacrifices I’m making to try to be the best player I can be in my career,” he said. “And when I hear other players say, Well, we should get more of the money, or you guys need to look at taking care of the lower guys, are those guys doing the same thing I’m doing to be the best player they are? If they’re not, why should they get a handout just because they’re not playing as top golf as some other players?
“So, it does sound harsh. It sounds like I’m trying to maybe attack the lower guys, or the guys that are lower on either Tour, but I’m not. All I’m saying is: Are you doing everything you can to be the best player you can? And if you are, then maybe we need to look at something. If you aren’t, we shouldn’t just be giving you handouts because you got your PGA Tour card and you’re not making as much as some other guys.
“We’re fortunate that the top guys over the generations have brought all this money into the PGA Tour, and they’ve been rewarded because of the top play. But we reward for top play, for playing great golf, not for mediocrity.”