The PGA Tour declined to publicly comment on reports of a potential new tour that is attempting to woo the game’s stars last week, but in a detailed letter sent to players on Monday Tour commissioner Jay Monahan outlined the circuit’s thoughts on the new tour.
In the letter, Monahan said the Tour has not been in contact with officials from the Team Golf Concept, which has been publicly identified as the Premier Golf League. The commissioner also made it clear that the league’s proposed 18-event schedule would be a direct conflict with the PGA Tour.
“The schedule for the Team Golf Concept is designed to directly compete and conflict with the PGA Tour’s FedExCup schedule, and to not conflict with [and would be in addition to] the Masters, PGA Championship, U.S. Open and The Open Championship,” Monahan’s statement read.
Players are limited to three conflicting event “releases” under the Tour’s current regulations and the letter references “strict enforcement of the Conflicting Event and Media Rights/Release rules.” The letter also warns players that under Tour regulations “a member cannot have a financial interest in another player,” which is one of the fundamental features of the Premier Golf League’s team ownership concept.
The topic came up at last week’s players meeting at Torrey Pines and gained momentum following the release of a Q&A by Premier Golf League officials. According to the Q&A, each event would feature 48-player fields and will include $10 million purses. The league’s first season could begin in 2022 or ’23.
Although funding information for the Premier Golf League has been vague, Monahan’s letter references “funding from Saudi interests” and adds, “We understand that Team Golf Concept is focused on securing player commitments first as they have no sponsorship or media offerings or rights.”
At last week’s player meeting, Monahan outlined “significant increases in prize money and comprehensive earnings over the next decade [on the PGA Tour]” as a result of new media rights deals and other revenue streams. He also appeared to draw a tough line for any players who may be interested in the Premier Golf League.
“If the Team Golf Concept or another iteration of this structure becomes a reality in 2022 or at any time before or after, our members will have to decide whether they want to continue to be a member of the PGA Tour or play on a new series,” Monahan wrote.