ORLANDO, Fla. – The PGA Tour unveiled the basic concepts behind what the circuit is calling the “Designated Event Model” in a memo sent to players Wednesday. The DEM will be the driving force for the Tour's schedule beginning next year.
“There is no doubt in my mind that we made decisions that will transform and set the future direction for your PGA Tour,” the memo from commissioner Jay Monahan read.
The changes, approved by the policy board at Tuesday’s meeting, will include the transition to designated events, which were introduced this season as an answer to LIV Golf, with limited fields of 70 to 80 players, no cuts and increased purses.
The total number of designated events will be decreased by one, with the removal of the WGC-Match Play, and will no longer come with a mandatory participation requirement. The top 20 players from last season’s Player Impact Program (PIP) are required to play all but one of this season’s designated events. Starting next year, that minimum will no longer be required.
“We will instead focus on ensuring purse size, elimination of a cut and FedExCup points distribution to sufficiently incentivize top performers to participate in the designated events,” read the memo, which also generally addressed how the allocation of FedExCup points will be “adjusted” to weigh toward the majors and designated events.
Of particular interest to most players will be the qualification criteria for the designated events. According to the memo, the field will feature the top 50 players from the previous season’s FedExCup points list, the current top 10 players on the list who are not already exempt, and an additional five players from what officials are calling a “collection” of standard (non-designated) events. There will also be exemptions for players inside the top 30 in the world ranking and sponsor exemptions.
Officials plan to “distribute” designated events in with non-designated events to allow players a chance to play their way into the bigger tournaments. Exactly how the circuit plans to do that remains unclear given that last week’s Honda Classic was wedged between four designated events.
“Full-field events will become more consequential as they allow new and upcoming stars to rise to the top and give the membership an ability to play their way into the designated events,” the memo read.
The designated events for 2024 will be the four majors, The Players (which will all remain full-field tournaments), the three playoff events (with a reduction to the top 50 from the regular-season points list) and an “additional eight [unidentified] designated events.”
The memo also addresses the Sentry Tournament of Champions, which kicks off the year and was a designated event this season. The new criteria to play the event will now be the top 50 players from the previous season’s points list and winners of Tour events, including those that will be played in the fall.
The circuit also announced it plans to scale back the PIP to a $50 million pool, paid to the top 10 finishers on the list. That’s down from a $100 million pool being paid to the top 20 on the list this year. The funds will be redirected to the season-long bonus program and Comcast Business Tour top 10.