James Hahn says he voted against the new changes to the PGA Tour schedule/structure. Here’s why
James Hahn looks at his shot from the second tee during the first round of the 2022 Wyndham Championship.
These are challenging times for the PGA Tour as it faces the threat of LIV Golf, and James Hahn understands that. But that doesn’t mean the 40-year-old two-time tour winner, who is one of four current players on the PGA Tour Policy Board, believes all changes to address the challenge are good ones, according to a Golfweek report.
In the wake of the players-only meeting organized by Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy two weeks ago in Delaware, the PGA Tour Policy Board quickly adopted several measures passed their way by the group of top players. Commissioner Jay Monahan announced on Wednesday that four more elevated events would be added to the eight already on the 2023 tour schedule and that an extra $50 million—raising the total bonus purse to $100 million—would be funneled into the Player Impact Program. A minimum guarantee of $500,000 in earnings for all exempt players was also revealed.
Hahn, however, voted against the measures, the only “no” vote, according to the report.
“Certain changes were made to combat the LIV Tour, not necessarily make our tour any better,” Hahn told Golfweek, opening up about his concerns.
Hahn’s reservations seemed to be two-fold:
1) How much is enough for the top players, and is it too much?
2) What happens to the non-star players on tour, and the non-elevated events that comprise the remainder of the season?
“I understand the reasoning that the money is used to keep top players and without them, we have no tour,” Hahn told Golfweek. “My question to them is 'When is it enough?' We’ve gone from $50 million to $100 million [paid out in the PIP]. When $100 million isn’t enough, will they ask for $200 million? How will that impact our business?”
This impact on the business appears to be referencing the well-being of the other rank-and-file players on tour. It’s often been said that the PGA Tour is a members-driven organization, but Hahn wondered if these latest changes focused too much on certain members at the expense of others.
“The secret meeting with Tiger and Rory set a precedent that the top 20 players can get whatever they want from the tour,” Hahn said. “So, what’s stopping the other 90 percent of our tour from getting together and doing the same exact thing as Rory and Tiger and saying the top 20 players can go play their own tournaments but the rest of the tour, us 90 percent all stand together and we want more benefits? I feel like a portion of the $100 million could have gone to making our tour great rather than going to the top 20. These are the little things that irritate the rest of the membership to the point there is a lot of animosity between the haves and have-nots.”
Hahn’s term on the policy board comes to an end in early 2023. He was 109th on the FedEx Cup eligibility points list, so he’s fully exempt for the 2022-23 season and looking forward to playing his 11th season on tour, even if he thinks things could be handled differently.
“We all want the same thing, what’s best for the tour, but we have different ideas on how to get there,” he said. “Right now, it seems like they are catering to the top players in the world.”