CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Premier Golf League is back on golf’s radar but it remains to be seen if the start-up circuit can gain enough traction to woo the game’s top players.
The Saudi Arabian-led plan to create a breakaway “world tour” has made multi-million dollar contract offers to some of the world’s best players with the promise of “astronomical” prize money, according to a report in the Telegraph Sport.
The report states, world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Justin Rose and Phil Mickelson have been offered upwards of $30 million contracts to join the league, which will follow a model similar to Formula 1 racing with four-man teams and a limited international schedule.
According to the Telegraph Sport report, the circuit hopes to start play in September 2022 although it remains to be seen how many players will be drawn from the PGA Tour. Last year, Rory McIlroy was the most outspoken star against the PGL telling reporters he “wanted to be on the right side of history.” On Tuesday at the Wells Fargo Championship Webb Simpson offered a similar critique.
“From the beginning it seemed like something that seems pretty farfetched to actually happen,” Simpson said. “I love the PGA Tour. It's given me an incredible opportunity these last 12 years of my life. It's hard for me to believe that it's really going to happen and the guys will really jump ship and go to a completely different way of golf than we've always had.”
Simpson went on to explain that he doesn’t know if his manager has been approached by the PGL but added, “[my manager] knows where I stand on it.”
A report late last month in Golfweek revealed the Tour had started a “player impact program” that would incentivize its stars to be more active on social media and engaging with fans via a $40 million bonus pool. Many viewed that plan as a direct response to the PGL proposal.
Tour commissioner Jay Monahan planned to meet with players Tuesday at Quail Hollow Club, where the PGL is sure to be a primary topic. Monahan has already informed players that they would lose their Tour membership if they joined the PGL and given the Tour’s strategic alliance with the European Tour it’s likely those from the Continent would face a similar decision.