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PGA Tour Eyeing Big-Money Events and Returning to a Calendar-Year Schedule

Commissioner Jay Monahan met with players Tuesday at the Travelers Championship to outline ideas meant to combat upstart LIV Golf, though some had been in the works before the new tour began.

The PGA Tour is headed for a return to a calendar-year schedule that would see a series of big-money fall events for top players as well as tournaments for others to improve their position — although they would not be part of the FedEx Cup schedule.

Commissioner Jay Monahan met with players at the Travelers Championship on Tuesday to outline some of the ideas, many of which had been put forth earlier, but with some specifics including increased purses for the elevated events such as the Genesis Invitational, the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Memorial Tournament, as well as the PGA Tour’s flagship event, the Players Championship.

A player at the meeting told SI.com/Morning Read that several limited-field events will have $20 million purses and be part of the regular season, while others will be part of the fall schedule that could see the events rotate through Europe and the Middle East.

Monahan is scheduled for a news conference at the Travelers Championship on Wednesday.

Golf Digest first reported the details of the meeting and said the special events in the fall would be for the top 50 in the final FedEx Cup standings with the remainder of players competing in an alternate series of tournaments to better enhance their Tour cards or status, possibly with the idea of qualifying for some of the elevated tournaments.

The new system would go into effect in fall 2023, with the calendar year season to begin in January 2024 – as it did prior to the 2013-14 season.

The move is viewed as a response to the LIV Golf Invitational Series, which has caused considerable disruption in recent weeks by signing players such as Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau to guaranteed contracts to play for big purses in 54-hole events.

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But a good bit of what the PGA Tour has been doing was already in the works before the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series regrouped in the spring and came out with a series of eight events this year, to be followed by 10 in 2023 with the idea of launching a full 14-tournament league schedule in 2024 – a plan that could be moved up a year, according to commissioner Greg Norman.

The Associated Press reported last fall that the Tour was considering a “global series’’ of events with big purses, no cuts and guaranteed money and the PGA Tour discussed the outline at a meeting with players in February.

The PGA Tour was already set to see an increase in purses and the FedEx Cup bonus pool this year due to a new network TV contract that went into effect starting in 2022.

As part of the plan, the FedEx Cup payout of $75 million this year with $18 million to the winner would go to $100 million by 2024 with $20 million to the winner. The Tour also intends to increase the Comcast Business Solutions regular season bonus pool from $20 million to $30 million and up the Player Impact Program (PIP) from $50 million to $70 million.

Any of the new plans would need to be approved by the PGA Tour policy board, but it’s clear some sort of change was necessary – that a return to the calendar season would be welcome.

A player would have the choice to compete for some guaranteed money but would not fear getting behind in the FedEx Cup standings if he chooses not to do so.

“I think that’s really missed on the PGA Tour from all aspects but certainly from the top players,’’ Adam Scott said earlier this year. “I think we would all like to see a break where you’re not penalized for taking a break. I think that’s one of the big things.’’