CROMWELL, Conn. — Money is undoubtedly the biggest factor in why many of golf’s most notable names have bolted to the Saudi-backed LIV Golf series.
LIV is paying its players millions of guaranteed dollars, no matter how they place in its events. The PGA Tour, however, pays its players based on performance. If a player on Tour misses the cut, they leave that tournament empty-handed.
Harris English and Patrick Cantlay, though, agree that if the PGA Tour guaranteed its players a check, either at the start of the season or ahead of an event, that could possibly mend the rift that is currently fracturing the sport.
“I actually am a fan of that,” English said Tuesday at TPC River Highlands. “Because you have a lot of guys who play on the PGA Tour that are losing money if they don’t have a good year. If they’re coming off the Korn Ferry Tour, they don’t get a good head start in the fall, they don’t play well, they’re not getting a whole lot of tournaments and it’s tough. They’re traveling all over the world, traveling all over the country. I think it’s a good kind of base to help them pay their shopping cart, pay to travel.
Full-field tee times from Travelers Championship
“For me, being on the PGA Tour, you can’t lose money.”
Cantlay agrees with English that guaranteed money for Tour players could be “beneficial.”
“I think right now there’s a competition for talent that’s going on and I think you see it in all sorts of other businesses,” Cantlay, the reigning FedExCup champion, said. “You’ve seen it in other professional sports from time to time. Part of the concern is not knowing what the future is going to be like.
“Right now it’s an uncertain time for golf, but if you think about it in the larger business landscape, it’s a competition for talent. So if the PGA Tour wants to remain the preeminent tour for professional golfers, it has to be the best place to play for the best players in the world.”
Something else Tour players would like to see is an alteration to the fall schedule. According to players at Tuesday’s meeting at TPC River Highlands, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan outlined a new look to the fall schedule, which would include three to four marquee events played around the globe for the Tour’s top players, along with a reworked domestic schedule that would function as a type of qualifying series for the next season.
“One of the things out here on the PGA Tour, I mean we have a lot of tournaments and I think the fall series has been tough,” English said. “There’s been some great sponsors in the fall, one of my home tournaments, the RSM Classic, is in the fall, so I definitely don’t want to see that go away.
“But also, guys have families and they want to play a little less golf. However, they can manage that to the best of both worlds of having the top players and the guys who are fighting for their card. I know they will figure it out, they got a lot of smart guys on the policy board, on the [Player Advisory Council]. [Monahan’s] a smart guy, they will figure out the best way to do it.”
Both English and Cantlay denied entertaining an offer from LIV Golf. However, both are disappointed with how the sport has been shaken recently.
“I think everyone’s concerned,” Cantlay said. “Like I said, I think everyone really wants to play against the best players in the world. A lot of us are hyper-competitive out here and that’s maybe what drove us to be as good as we are. So any time there’s a potential fracture in the sport, I don’t think that’s good for the sport.”