ATLANTA -- Top players from the PGA Tour are committing to compete in at least 20 events starting next season, including 12 elevated tournaments that will have average purses of $20 million, commissioner Jay Monahan announced Wednesday.
The players' commitment comes on the heels of a players-only meeting that Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy hosted last week at the BMW Championship in an effort to rally the top players around the PGA Tour during its ongoing fight against the rival LIV Golf circuit.
"We've all made a commitment to get together more often to make the product more compelling," McIlroy said on Wednesday. "I don't have a crystal ball, but I think everyone in that room felt this was the best way to move forward.
"I think if you're trying to sell a product to TV and to sponsors and to try to get as many eyeballs on professional golf as possible, you need to at least let people know what they're tuning in for. When I tune into a Tampa Bay Buccaneers game, I expect to see Tom Brady throw a football. When I tune into a Formula 1 race, I expect to see Lewis Hamilton in a car. Sometimes what's happened on the PGA Tour is we all act independently and we sort of have our own schedules, and that means that we never really get together all that often."
On Wednesday, the PGA Tour announced the addition of four elevated events with $20 million purses each, bringing the total of elevated tournaments to 12 for next season.
If they're eligible, top players are committing to compete in the four new elevated events as well as the four majors, the Players Championship, three FedEx Cup playoff events, Genesis Invitational (Riviera), Arnold Palmer Invitational (Bay Hill), Memorial Tournament, Sentry Tournament of Champions (Kapalua) and the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. Golfers will also commit to three additional PGA Tour tournaments of their choice during the season.
"Our top players are firmly behind the Tour, helping us deliver an unmatched product to our fans, who will be all but guaranteed to see the best players competing against each other in 20 events or more throughout the season," Monahan said during a news conference ahead of this week's Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club.
The PGA Tour is also doubling its Player Impact Program from $50 million to $100 million in 2022 and 2023. It will reward the top 20 players, increased from 10, based on measurement criteria and data to reward players "who resonate most with our growing fan base." Monahan said the top finisher in PIP would get $15 million.
The PIP criteria will eliminate certain social media criteria and expand "awareness criteria," including internet searches, general awareness, golf fan awareness, media mentions and broadcast exposure.
The PGA Tour also is launching an Earnings Assurance Program for fully exempt members, which guarantees a league-minimum salary of $500,000 per player. Players receiving that money must participate in 15 events. Rookies and returning members will receive the money at the start of the season.
For non-exempt members, those who were ranked 126th to 150th in the FedEx Cup points standings and below, they'll receive $5,000 for every missed cut. The tour will also subsidize travel and tournament-related expenses to those players.
LIV Golf officials responded to the PGA Tour's changes in a statement, saying, "LIV Golf is clearly the best thing that's ever happened to help the careers of professional golfers."
The PGA Tour had previously announced it was dramatically increasing the purses for several of its top events, including the Sentry Tournament of Champions ($15 million), Genesis Invitational ($20 million), Arnold Palmer Invitational ($20 million), the Players ($25 million), Memorial Tournament ($20 million) and WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play ($20 million), as well as the three FedEx Cup playoff events: FedEx St. Jude Championship ($20 million), BMW Championship ($20 million) and Tour Championship ($75 million).