Part of the PGA Tour’s future is beginning to come into focus
Details on this week’s megawatt meeting in Delaware between the biggest golf stars on the planet who discussed the future of both the sport as well as the PGA Tour are scant, but here and there a roadmap is starting to unfold. One of those signposts, apparently, will be a series of “non-green grass, stadium environment” competitions supported by Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy that are spread out across a season and played as one-off competitions starting in 2024, according to Golfweek.
While details on these events are scarce, Golfweek reports that PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan is poised to either discuss parts of this venture if not fully disclose it later this week at the season-ending Tour Championship. It remains to be seen exactly what these made-for-TV events — reportedly with a live audience included — could look like, but it’s interesting to consider their future existence with something McIlroy said earlier this week after the star-studded conference room meeting and before the BMW Championship.
“We need to get the top guys together more often than we do,” said McIlroy. While he was talking about golf tournaments like the Genesis Invitational and Memorial, the same concept could be applied to these events.
It was presented as a long-term opportunity for players to build equity in the enterprise, which will have private funding in addition to corporate partnerships and sponsors. The proposal was received positively among players in the room, according to a source familiar with the conversation.
It appears that much of the future of whatever the PGA Tour will look like — whether it’s these one-off competitions outside of golf courses or potentially teams like LIV Golf has implemented or anything else — is being driven at least in part by the idea of equity, which is a massive selling point to the entrepreneurial-minded modern golfer like McIlroy and others.
One interesting part here is that depending on how everything is structured, it seems as if anything the PGA Tour does regarding private equity would require them to drop their non-profit status and become a for-profit company. It’s something reportedly being worked on and would allow private money to flow in from a variety of places.
While this series of events seems far more comprehensive and has far more continuity than any of the one-off matches pros have participated in over the last few years, this would also not be the first time McIlroy and Woods teamed up in a made-for-TV event together. They were was part of the Payne’s Valley Cup in 2020 with Justin Rose and Justin Thomas also participating.
When McIlroy was asked about what action steps have been taken by the superstars of the sport, he was coy, but there is much happening behind the scenes and the majority of it is being driven by the players, who effectively run this members-only league.
“That’s what we’re working through, right? What’s the short-term, what’s the medium-term, what’s the long-term,” he said. That’s something that we have to figure out.”
Apparently figuring it out means, among other things, building a brand and some fan interest off the golf course. Whether that results in a skills competition or a long-drive contest — the contests Bryson DeChambeau has participated in in recent years have been both compelling and gotten solid viewership — remains to be seen. However, it’s clear that the biggest names in the sport — literally the two biggest names in golf in the world — are all in as the battle to grow and increase the PGA Tour’s presence in the face of LIV Golf roils on.