PGA Tour’s Jay Monahan calls LIV golf an ‘irrational threat’ to game development

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PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan admitted Wednesday that it will be unable to compete with LIV Golf when it comes to finances.

Monahan’s remarks come as Brooks Koepka and Abraham Anser become the latest golfers to sign With LIV Golf,

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PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan speaks during a news conference ahead of the start of the Travelers Championship golf tournament at TPC River Highlands on Wednesday, June 22, 2022 in Cromwell, Conn.
(AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

“I’m not gullible. If it’s an arms race and if the only weapons here are dollar bills, the PGA Tour can’t compete. The PGA Tour, an American institution, can’t compete with a foreign monarchy that’s worth billions.” dollars trying to buy a game of golf,” Monahan said.

“We welcome good, healthy competition. LIV Saudi Golf League is not that. It is an irrational threat that has nothing to do with the return on investment or the actual development of the sport.”

But it’s not for lack of trying.

Monahan said the increase in prize money came from his latest media rights deal in 2020, noting that the threat of LIV Golf triggered some of those plans. They announced a streamlined schedule from January to August starting in 2024 — with seven tournaments of $20 million or more and fewer spots available for its postseason.

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Rory McIlroy, front right, shakes hands with PGA Commissioner Jay Monahan after winning the Canadian Open golf tournament in Toronto, Sunday, June 12, 2022.

Rory McIlroy, front right, shakes hands with PGA Commissioner Jay Monahan after winning the Canadian Open golf tournament in Toronto, Sunday, June 12, 2022.
(Frank Gunn/Canadian Press via AP)

The drop would be for players who dropped out of the top 70 to secure cards for the following year, and to give them a chance to move into the top 50 – some to secure games in an elite $20 million tournament.

Monahan cited Scotty Scheffler’s success this season as golfers leaving the PGA Tour for better financial opportunities. Schaeffler didn’t win a tournament until February, but holds the PGA Tour record for the highest-grossing total in a season, with nearly $13 million.

“If you’re good enough, you’ll get to the top,” Monahan said. “And if you don’t continue to earn that top spot, there is someone else hungry and equally talented who can take your place. Again, this is the unique beauty of the tour and will always offer fans.

“It’s great and worth fighting for.”

Brooks Koepka of the United States waits to play his second shot on the third hole during the second round of the 2022 US Open Championship at The Country Club on June 17, 2022 in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Brooks Koepka of the United States waits to play his second shot on the third hole during the second round of the 2022 US Open Championship at The Country Club on June 17, 2022 in Brookline, Massachusetts.
(Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

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The Travelers Championship is set to kick off this weekend with The Open Championship a month away.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.