Another new income source for PGA Tour players nearing fruition

Rory McIlroy and his PGA Tour brothers will soon have an ownership stake in the Tour, according to a memo.

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In the torrent of news and reaction following the PGA Tour's explosive June 6 announcement that it was forging a partnership with the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund, what was overlooked in the torrent of news and reaction was that the Tour leadership sought to win back its loyalists by giving them an ownership stake in the tournament. The next for-profit arm of the Tour, PGA Tour Enterprises.

Jimmy Dunnea Tour political insider at the center of the Tour's secretive, high-risk dealings with the Saudis, explained part of the plan in a piece published by ESPN on June 9, noting: “The new [company] would grow, and [current PGA Tour] players would get a share of the capital that would improve and increase in value as time went on. There would have to be some kind of decision formulated on how to do it. “It would be a process to determine what would be a fair mechanism that would be truly beneficial to our players.”

Last month, in a note your playersTour commissioner Jay Monahan added of the equity stakes: "...this would be a unique offering in professional sports, as no other league gives its players/members direct equity ownership in the league's business. .[and] The PGA Tour will be stronger with our players more closely aligned with the commercial success of the business.”

Still, details about the player-ownership plan have been scarce, as some professionals have become increasingly agitated by the Tour's shift toward catering to and lining the pockets of its stars. One of those new income channels that favors the A stars of the Tour is the Player Impact Program, which pays players huge sums of money to, in the simplest terms, generate buzz. Another is the Tour's characteristic event structure, which the The middle-class critics of the Tour contention is unfairly restrictive for players trying to climb the rankings, given the amount of FedEx Cup points that exclusive events award compared to regular tournaments. Batting for the “normal guys” on Tour in a Interview with golf week Last month, Lanto Griffin said: “Having everything against us: we're losing points, money, starts, it seems like who's making these decisions?”

The players are, Lanto! At least some of them are, anyway, and much more proactively than just a couple of years ago. The flagship event concept was dreamed up by Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, along with about 20 of their other top-tier comrades, at their now historic Delaware summit in August 2022. That the new schedule most benefits the stars who bring the The majority of eyes on the Tour was no accident and has not sat well with some members of the Tour proletariat. Chris Stroud, 41, former Tour winner and former Player Advisory Council member said Golf Channel last week, "The Tour doesn't care if you're not in the top 30 and I learned quickly that I had to take care of myself."

Apparently sensing the growing anguish, the Tour player managers – Tiger Woods, Charley Hoffman, Peter Malnati, Patrick Cantlay, Webb Simpson and Jordan Spieth (plus Adam Scott, who will replace Hoffman next year) – sent a note to members last week, which touted the “diversity” of player managers’ career paths and outlined plans for the creation of a “governance committee,” which would ensure that “no major decisions can be made in the future.” without the prior participation and approval of the player managers.”


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But the police have buried the lede. The real news for Tour members yearning for more guaranteed income was on page 2, which confirmed that plans are underway for a new source of income for all players. The fifth of the seven points in the memo read: “We will establish a program through which members will have direct ownership in our tour through equity grants. In addition to our governance review, we believe this program will help further align our interests and create substantial economic opportunities for members. As we finalize program details with management and independent board members, we are committed to providing ownership opportunities to current and future members of the PGA Tour. “All investor groups have been incredibly supportive of this program.”

This is a paradigm shift. Historically, Tour players have been independent contractors who were guaranteed little more than tournaments in which to compete. If you make more birdies than bogeys, players will be generously compensated, but the opposite can mean players go home with nothing; In fact, less than nothing when you take into account their travel, accommodation and other miscellaneous expenses. Established players can participate in the Tour's generous pension plan, according to Jared Doerfler, golf finance reporteras of December 31, 2021, more than 100 Members had retirement account balances exceeding $5 million, but until recently regular old payments came through only one main channel: weekend tee times.

Now, players will be able to benefit not only when they play well but also when the Tour itself makes a few dollars. A Tour spokesperson did not respond to a question about how the ownership grants will work, but the Tiger and Co. memo clearly stated that they are close to being finalized. For players struggling to make ends meet, the unmade cuts will still sting, but having another source of income should help ease the pain.

Alan Bastable

Golf.com Editor

As Executive Editor of GOLF.com, Bastable is responsible for the editorial direction and voice of one of the most respected and highly trafficked news and services sites in the game. He wears many hats: editing, writing, ideating, developing, daydreaming about one day turning 80, and feels privileged to work with such an incredibly talented and hard-working group of writers, editors, and producers. Before taking the reins at GOLF.com, he was features editor at GOLF Magazine. A graduate of the University of Richmond and the Columbia School of Journalism, he lives in New Jersey with his wife and four children.


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