2024 PGA Tour schedule to feature new 'Signature Series,' with invitationals keeping 36-hole cuts
The PGA Tour has reversed course on its plan to alter the makeup of its three invitational tournaments in 2024, sources told Golf Digest who furthermore added that much of that is the doing of Tiger Woods—who only on Tuesday was given a seat on the tour’s policy board.
The tour announced in March that the Genesis Invitational, Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Memorial Tournament would be among eight no-cut designated events next year, but pushback from Woods—as well as from Jack Nicklaus and officials of the Arnold Palmer Invitational—has led to a compromise in which the three events will have a field of 80-90 players and a cut to the low 50 and ties and players within 10 shots of the lead. Woods is the host of the Genesis Invitational near Los Angeles. Nicklaus is founder and host of the Memorial in suburban Columbus, Ohio. The invitationals in recent years have had 120 players.
Sources not affiliated with the invitationals said the three events, with purses of $20 million (or possibly higher), could still pay a stipend to players who do not make the cut, similar to the Masters, which also has a cut to low 50 and ties, but no longer has a 10-shot rule. The Players also will have a cut with a full field of 144 players.
“The Masters was definitely the model for what eventually was decided,” said one tour player who has followed the discussions.
Golfweek reported on Thursday that the 2024 schedule includes 80-player fields with a cut at the invitationals as part of a story on the proposed rundown of the entire schedule, which for the first time since 2013 features the full slate in a single calendar year. Other designated events, which will have smaller fields in the range of 60 players and no cut, will be the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, RBC Heritage, Wells Fargo Championship and Travelers Championship.
Sources say the collection of designated events will be called the "Signature Series." A spokesman for the PGA Tour said the tour would not comment, pending the formal announcement of the schedule.
At the Masters in April, Woods told reporters, “I certainly am pushing for my event to have a cut. I think that maybe the player-hosted events may have cuts. These are things that Jack and I are still in discussion with Jay and the board and the tour and the rest of the guys. That still is in flux.”
At the Memorial Tournament, Jon Rahm admitted that he had changed his mind about no-cut events, particularly at the invitationals. “I've gone back and forth on this issue,” Rahm said. “I, at first, was an advocate for no cut, and the more time has gone by I've become an advocate for a cut. So I think it's a part of the game, and I think it's an important part of the game, as harsh as it may be to cut out maybe only 20 players.”
Said one tour player on the prospect that the invitational would retain a cut despite a slightly smaller field: “Do you think it’s a coincidence that Tiger is now on the board and they have decided to keep cuts? Tiger won that battle.”
Woods was named a player director to the PGA Tour one day after joining with 40 other players in sending a letter to commissioner Jay Monahan on Monday requesting changes to the tour’s governance. Indications are that Woods prompted the drafting of the letter, which was first reported in the Washington Post.
The PGA Tour is expected to reveal the 2024 schedule to players during a meeting Tuesday at TPC Southwind prior to the FedEx St. Jude Invitational, the first of its three FedEx Cup playoff events. Golfweek reported that next year’s schedule features 47 events, eight of which occur in the fall after the Tour Championship that wraps up the FedEx Cup portion of the season. The season begins Jan. 4 at the no-cut designated event sponsored by Sentry. It no longer will be called the Tournament of Champions because it will invite winners from this year as well as the top 50 finishers in the FedEx Cup standings, which will be determined after next week’s opening playoff event in Memphis.
The schedule also includes a week off for the Olympic Golf competition the first week of August. A source knowledgeable of the schedule said the tour seeks to fill an open date in the fall the week of Nov. 7-10. The tour recently added the Black Desert Championship in Utah to be held Oct. 3-6.
The tour had previously intended to announce the 2024 schedule in late June, but was held up by a number of issues, including a delay in the sponsorship of the Heritage and Canadian Open, both sponsored by RBC. That deal reportedly was finalized today, with RBC renewing for one year. A report via Sports Business Journal said RBC is waiting to see how the recent framework deal that includes sponsorship of the PGA Tour and DP World Tour by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia gets finalized before it proceeds with sponsorship beyond 2024.