News & Tours

Players 2023: PGA Tour commissioner maps out future of 8 'designated' no-cut events with 70-80 players

March 07, 2023

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FLORIDA - MARCH 07: PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan speaks to the media as a preview for the Players Championship.

David Cannon

PONTE VEDRA BEACH — Showcasing its best players and configuring a schedule that brings a strategic “cadence” to its future seasons are at the heart of changes coming to the PGA Tour, Commissioner Jay Monahan said on Tuesday during his pre-tournament press conference at the Players Championship.

Starting with the 2024 season, which has yet to be finalized, the PGA Tour will have eight designated no-cut events with elevated purses and fields limited to 70-80 players. Four of those events will be the Sentry Tournament of Champions and the three invitationals—the Genesis Invitational, the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Memorial Tournament. The other four have yet to be determined, but previous reports indicated that one of them is the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Sources told Golf Digest that the Wells Fargo Championship and Travelers Championship, which are designated events this year, will return in that capacity in 2024.

Whichever four events are eventually identified as designated tournaments, Monahan said they will be locked in for several years. In all, there will be 16 elevated events, with the Players, the four majors and three playoff events included.

“Our 2024 schedule will look significantly different, with a consistent cadence of designated and full-field events,” said Monahan, who stressed that "growth and momentum" are the themes behind the changes.

In reference to the flow of the schedule going forward, no full-field event will be “isolated” next year; that is, a stand-alone surrounded by designated events. Instead, the schedule will see clusters of full-field events leading into multiple elevated limited-field tournaments, and those full-field events will provide a pathway into the designated events. The top five in what Monahan called “swing” events would earn exemptions into elevated tournaments.

As for the designated events, the tour is moving forward after a statistical analysis revealed that the top 10-30 players in the world compete against one another some 95 percent of the time in major championships, but less than 40 percent of the time in PGA Tour events.

“We've looked at all possible competitive models, and it was evident and perhaps obvious that whatever we do differently, we must showcase our top performers competing against one another more often,” Monahan said. “We know that designated events can resonate both with core and casual fans, evidenced by the metrics of the WM Phoenix Open and the Genesis Invitational last month. But designated events can't stand on their own. You need strong, compelling full-field events to provide consistency and keep the PGA Tour top of mind week-in and week-out with storylines and breakout stars.”


Rory McIlroy speaks to the media adhed of the 2023 Players Championship.

Richard Heathcote

In addition to higher purses, designated events will offer more FedEx Cup points, though Monahan said that number is still to be determined. One veteran tour player, however, told Golf Digest that the players were informed in Tuesday's meeting of the points for '24, and that the winner of a "designated" event would receive 700 points. Those who capture the Players and the four majors would get 750. The numbers compare to the current award of 500 points for regular tour wins, 600 for majors and 550 for this year's "elevated" events. Monahan stressed that there will be significant turnover in designated events from year to year, that the plan is not reserving the $20 million-plus purses solely for the elite players. “That was an important element to the changes that we're making. We wanted to make certain that there was real consequence and there's real promotion, there's real relegation,” he said.

“I think one of the things you're going to hear a little bit later on is schedule cadence. That's going to be a pretty key term in all this,” Rory McIlroy, one of the players on the PGA Tour Policy Board, said on Tuesday. “The way the schedule is laid out next year—everyone has sort of heard this, two designated, maybe three full-field, two designated. So, again, it's trying to create the best schedule that guarantees that the top players play in the big events. But also that it can sort of guarantee the participation in a handful of the full-field events as well.”

Monahan told Golf Digest that four opposite field-events will remain on the schedule, with dates to be determined. At least one of those will be a new tournament.

While the 2024 schedule has yet to be finalized, the coming fall schedule still is up in the air as well, though Monahan provided more definition to the competitive framework. The top 70 after the Wyndham Championship, which is the regular-season finale, qualify for the FedEx Cup Playoffs. The top 50 finishers in the first playoff event, the FedEx St. Jude Championship, advance to the BMW Championship and lock up berths in the 2024 designated events.

Players 51-70 have incentive to continue competing in the seven to eight fall events after the Tour Championship to qualify, via top-10 in the fall, for early-season designated events in ’24. Those beyond the top 10 will compete for their full-time tour cards for the following season.

Asked if the institution of limited-field, no-cut events looks similar to the competing LIV Golf League, Monahan pointed out that the tour always has had no-cut events and cited the victories by Jack Nicklaus (17), Arnold Palmer (23) and Tiger Woods (26) in 72-hole stroke-play events that did not have a cut.

“I would ask you, do you think we really look the same?” Monahan said. “And the players that are competing in our events in this new format next year will have earned the right to compete in them and they will have earned it through top-50 position in the FedExCup this year, as well as their performance in the fall and ultimately in these swings. So that's what this organization has always stood for. I think as we look out to 2024, 2025, 2026, the same will hold true.

“I think when you get to the question about what got you to that point, there was and there still is a lot of discussion and debate on whether or not there should be no cuts. But for us to be able to have our stars assured to play for four days is a really important element to this model going forward. We think that's what fans want, particularly given the players have earned their right and their ability to play in those events.”