Exclusive: PGA Tour to announce four new ‘elevated’ events, including WM Phoenix Open

The PGA Tour is set to announce a further four tournaments with elevated status for 2023, Golfweek has learned. The additions will bring to 13 the total number of Tour events designated as “elevated,” meaning the presence of the game’s biggest stars will be guaranteed as they compete for lucrative purses of at least $20 million. The Tour plans to communicate specifics on the events to players later this week.

In August, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan announced the first nine elevated events for the 2022-2023 season. Those were the Players Championship; three FedEx Cup playoff stops (FedEx St. Jude Championship, BMW Championship, Tour Championship); the three invitationals (Genesis, Arnold Palmer, Memorial); the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play; and the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

The four additional tournaments to be elevated this season are the WM Phoenix Open, the RBC Heritage, the Wells Fargo Championship and the Travelers Championship, according to five sources familiar with the discussions. Several sources said the Tour is still in the process of finalizing negotiations with the events. A spokesperson for the PGA Tour declined to confirm the details or to comment on potential announcements.

While the nine previously-announced events will have elevated status every year, it’s expected that the four unveiled this week will rotate between tournaments each season, ensuring that every sponsor interested in paying for elevated status would be guaranteed the best possible field every few years.

“The elevated events won’t be the same in 2024,” said one person who has been briefed on the plan. “These events worked with a schedule that had already been announced.”

The PGA Tour’s creation of an elite tier of events is a direct response to the threat posed by LIV Golf, the Saudi-funded series that lured a number of prominent players to compete for guaranteed money in 48-man events. Monahan outlined the Tour’s plan at the season-ending Tour Championship in August, but the vision was born of a select players meeting earlier that month in Delaware, organized by Tour loyalists Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy.

Players in attendance — invites were limited to the Tour’s top stars — broadly agreed to commit to play every elevated event, giving the Tour the ability to guarantee where its biggest draws will show up. That has never before been possible since members are independent contractors who control their own schedules. As of now, 20 of the top 21 players in the Official World Golf Ranking have remained on the PGA Tour.

Between the 13 elevated PGA Tour stops and the four major championships, golf’s top stars will compete against each other at least 17 times per season, a substantial increase on how often they face off in the same tournaments currently. Under the plan Monahan announced, players are also required to enter three non-elevated PGA Tour events each season, ensuring those tournaments can

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By: Eamon Lynch
Title: Exclusive: PGA Tour to announce four new ‘elevated’ events, including WM Phoenix Open
Sourced From: golfweek.usatoday.com/2022/10/18/pga-tour-four-new-elevated-events-wm-phoenix-open/
Published Date: Tue, 18 Oct 2022 12:30:52 +0000

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