The PGA TOUR has made some big changes in 2023 as competitor LIV Golf threatens to poach more young golfers and split the sport. The TOUR is providing incentives for both players and fans in this new era, with “elevated events” marking one of the first major changes.
With a series of 17 designated events that involve all-star fields and big-money purses, the PGA TOUR looks to improve their longstanding system by incentivizing top golfers with increased payouts. They also hope to draw in more fans and viewers with tournaments that bring the best of the best to compete in the same field. This series includes the four majors and The Players Championship, which already draw increased viewership and public interest.
So who are the top golfers involved in these events? The top 20 golfers from the previous year’s Player Impact Program are required to compete in 16 of the 17 events in order to receive their PIP money. The Player Impact Program was introduced in 2021 and ranks players based on the American public’s interest in the golfers (criteria includes internet searches, general awareness, and a social media score).
Generally, the American public are much more aware of golfers who are winning. This system ensures high quality, competitive fields at these elevated events. For instance, eight of the OWGR’s top 10 golfers are competing in the Waste Management Phoenix Open this week. (One of the top 10 is a LIV golfer who does not qualify.)
The purses for these events are around $20 million, and the PIP distributes $100 million over the top 20 players, the likes of whom include Rory McIlroy, Scottie Scheffler, and Jon Rahm.
The Waste Management Phoenix Open is the first full-field elevated event of 2023. The Sentry Tournament of Champions, which invites a much smaller 39-man field, was the first, and Rahm took home the victory in Hawai’i.
Here is the complete schedule of elevated events for the 2023 PGA TOUR season:
2023 PGA TOUR Elevated Events Schedule
|Jan. 5-8||Sentry Tournament of Champions||$15 million||Jon Rahm|
|Feb. 9-12||Waste Management Phoenix Open||$20 million||Scottie Scheffler|
|Feb. 16-19||The Genesis Invitational||$20 million||Jon Rahm|
|Mar. 2-5||Arnold Palmer Invitational||$20 million|
|Mar. 9-12||The Players Championship||$25 million|
|Mar. 23-26||WGC Dell Technologies Match Play||$20 million|
|Apr. 6-9||The Masters||TBD|
|Apr. 13-16||RBC Heritage||$20 million|
|May 4-7||Wells Fargo Championship||$20 million|
|May 18-21||PGA Championship||TBD|
|Jun. 1-4||The Memorial Tournament||$20 million|
|Jun. 15-18||U.S. Open||TBD|
|Jun. 22-25||Travelers Championship||$20 million|
|July 20-23||Open Championship||TBD|
|Aug. 10-13||FedEx St. Jude Championship||$20 million|
|Aug. 17-20||BMW Championship||$20 million|
|Aug. 24-27||Tour Championship||$75 million|