Berlin, Aug 25 (Ajit Weekly News) Rory McIlroy believes the announced enhancements to the PGA Tour are “a great step in the right direction” as the battle with the LIV Golf Invitational Series rages on.
On Wednesday, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan introduced several changes to the Tour, with the key emphasis on bringing the leading players together more often, reports DPA.
The announcements came after Tiger Woods and other leading players met last week to discuss what the PGA Tour should do going forward.
LIV Golf has sent shockwaves through the sport with many high-profile players making the switch to the Saudi-backed tour, including Phil Mickelson, and the Open winner Cameron
Smith is reportedly set to follow suit.
Other alterations announced included a commitment from top players to feature in at least 20 PGA Tour events per year, an expansion to the player impact program and the guarantee of minimum earnings for full Tour members.
Four elevated events with purses of at least $20million have been added, taking the schedule up to 12 such tournaments next season, and the top players have agreed to compete in all of them.
McIlroy was encouraged by the changes, telling reporters ahead of the Tour Championship: “I care deeply about our sport. I care about its history. I care about its legacy. I care about the integrity of the game.
“We all sort of are our own little independent businesses and we sort of try to compete against each other, and I think this is the first time in a long time where we sort of all sat down and were like, let’s try to be business partners.
“How can we all pull in the same direction here to benefit everyone and to help the entire TOUR and to help each other basically.
“Unfortunately, Tiger Woods doesn’t play as much as he used to. Tiger Woods was the single biggest draw that the PGA Tour had, amongst other things. We have to recognise that.
“So for the 23 of us that were in that room last Tuesday, including Tiger, we all have to sit down (and ask), okay, what is the best thing for our Tour going forward?
“What can we do to help put forward the best product possible so that in 50 years’ time the PGA Tour is still thriving and we can safeguard the future of the Tour? That was basically what last week was about.
“Obviously that has culminated in some of the announcements that have been made today (Wednesday). I’m sure there will be some changes going forward, as well, but I think today was a great step in the right direction.”
When questioned on how the changes would benefit the Tour, the four-time major winner replied: “If you’re trying to sell a product to TV and to sponsors and to try to get as many eyeballs on professional golf as possible, you need to at least let people know what they’re tuning in for.
“When I tune into a Tampa Bay Buccaneers game, I expect to see Tom Brady throw a football. When I tune into a Formula 1 race, I expect to see Lewis Hamilton in a car.
“Sometimes what’s happened on the PGA Tour is we all act independently and we sort of have our own schedules, and that means that we never really get together all that often.
“I think what came out of the meeting last week and what Jay just was up here announcing is the fact that we’ve all made a commitment to get together more often to make the product more compelling.”
McIlroy also revealed he had spoken to Smith about his reported defection to LIV Golf.
“I had a conversation with Cameron Smith two days after the Open. Firstly, I wanted to congratulate him,” McIlroy disclosed.
“But I would at least like people to make a decision that is completely informed and basically know this is what’s coming down the pipeline. This is what you may be leaving behind.
“I just don’t want people making decisions – hearing information from one side and not from another. So I think that’s sort of been my whole thing this entire time.
“I’ve always said guys can do whatever they want. Guys can make a decision that they feel is best for themselves and their families. But I want guys to make decisions based on all of the facts.”
–Ajit Weekly News
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