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PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan told reporters Wednesday that prize money for eight regular-season tournaments would be increased, an announcement that follows the departure of several high-profile golfers for the controversial LIV golf series backed by Saudi Arabia.

“Let’s be clear, I’m not naive. If this is an arms race and if the only weapons here are dollar bills, the PGA Tour cannot compete,” Monahan said at a press conference. “The PGA Tour, an American institution, cannot compete with a foreign monarchy spending billions of dollars trying to buy the game of golf.”

During the commissioner’s press conference, the LIV Golf series announced that former world No. 1 Brooks Koepka will join the company.

LIV Golf is organized by LIV Golf Investments and backed by the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia – a sovereign wealth fund chaired by Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia and the man whom a report of US intelligence has named him responsible for approving the operation that led to the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Bin Salman has denied any involvement in Khashoggi’s murder.

Earlier this month, Monahan announced that all golfers playing in the breakaway series would no longer be eligible to play in PGA Tour tournaments.

Monahan said the Tour hosts “good and healthy” competition, but said the new Tour was an “irrational threat” and was not concerned with the “true growth” of the game.

So far, the various golf tours and organizations have worked together, he said.

“But when someone tries to buy the sport, dismantle the institutions that are inherently invested in its growth and focused only on a personal priority, that partnership evaporates and instead we end up with one person, an entity using endless sums of money to direct employees, not members or partners, towards their personal goal,” Monahan said. “Which may or may not change tomorrow or the day after. the vision each of us has for the game.”

In a note to players obtained by CNN, Monahan wrote that the Sentry Tournament of Champions, The Genesis Invitational, Arnold Palmer Invitational, The Players Championship, WGC – Dell Technologies, Memorial Tournament, FedEx St. Jude Championship and BMW Championship would have millions added to their prize money, including several who will see 67% more in scholarships.

Monahan also said the PGA Tour will create a series of up to three international events that will include a limited field in a no-cut format. International events will take place after the end of the fall schedule and will include the top 50 players on the final FedEx Cup points list and the top fall players.

He revealed that the PGA Tour will return to a calendar year schedule culminating with the FedEx Cup Qualifiers, which will feature a smaller field of 70 players instead of the usual 125, followed by fall events that will determine the 125 top players.

The first full season of the new changes will begin in calendar year 2024.

Scottie Scheffler, the No. 1 ranked golfer in the world, said he doesn’t think there is an amount of money that will change his mind about playing on the PGA Tour.

“The money we have on the PGA Tour, I never dreamed of playing for so much money like I do now,” he said. “I mean, I can’t, I don’t know, I don’t know how much money I made this year, but it’s definitely more than I deserve for hitting a little white golf ball. ”

Scheffler said he wasn’t going to tell others what to do, but in the past doing things based on the money at stake hadn’t worked well for him.

Six-time major winner Phil Mickelson and former world number one Dustin Johnson are among those who took part in the inaugural LIV Golf event, while other major winners Sergio Garcia, Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell, Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel also participated.

There are seven LIV events remaining this year, including an event in Portland that begins June 30 and a tournament at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, with the first round on July 29.


Cnn

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