Rory McIlroy feels the new structure for the PGA Tour’s designated events in 2024 will cater for players of all levels and believes that there is a precedent for having no cut events on tour.
Under the changes reported by Eamon Lynch of Golfweek, the PGA Tour’s designated events will see fields trimmed to between 70-78 players and the 36-hole cut removed. Lynch reported that the top 50 players in the FedEx Cup rankings as at the BMW Championship – the second of the FedEx Cup playoff events – will qualify for the designated events, with the additional participants comprised of players who qualify through regular (non designated) PGA Tour events, sponsor’s invitations, and world rankings.
McIlroy, speaking ahead of the latest designated event, the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill believes the mooted changes will be a positive and guarantee the presence of the top golfers in the world while creating an avenue for the in form players to earn their way into the fields.
“So, I love it. Obviously I’ve been a part of it and been in a ton of discussions. I think it makes the TOUR more competitive. I think we were going that way anyway,” explained McIlroy. “You think of, the playoffs used to be 125, 70, 30. Obviously this year they have went 70, 50, 30.
“So I think — like, I’m all about rewarding good play. I’m certainly not about — I want to give everyone a fair shake at this. Which I think this structure has done. There’s ways to play into it. It’s trying to get the top guys versus the hot guys, right? I think that creates a really compelling product. But a way that you don’t have to wait an entire year for your good play to then get the opportunity. That opportunity presents itself straight away.
“You play well for two or three weeks, you’re in a designated event. You know then if you keep playing well you stay in them.
“So, for example, someone like a Chris Kirk last week that wins Honda, he’s set. Winning is really important on this TOUR and good play and rewarding that.
“At the end of the day, I think with all these designated events and this event schedule, at the end of the day we’re selling a product to people. The more clarity they have on that product and knowing what they’re buying is really important. It’s really important for the TOUR. I think this solves for that.”
LIV Golf have already hit out with a jibe on their social media believing that the PGA Tour is imitating their 48-man field and no cut format:
Imitation is the greatest form of flattery. Congratulations PGA Tour. Welcome to the future.#LIVGolf
— LIV Golf (@livgolf_league) March 1, 2023
McIlroy says that no cut events on the PGA Tour have always been present and that the appetite is there to have more; “Well we’ve always had no-cut events on this TOUR. If you think of like the four WGC’s, you’ve got the three playoffs events, you’ve got the CJ Cup, the Zozo. So there’s precedent there for no-cut events. The only reason no-cut events are a big deal is because LIV has come along. So there is precedent for no-cut events. There’s been no-cut events since I’ve been a member of the TOUR and way beyond that as well.
“So, yeah, is there maybe going to be a few more of them? Maybe. That’s still TBD by the way. That’s not been decided yet. But if we do go down that path there’s precedent there to argue for no-cut events.
“It keeps the stars there for four days. You ask Mastercard or whoever it is to pay 20 million dollars for a golf event, they want to see the stars at the weekend. They want a guarantee that the stars are there. So if that’s what needs to happen, then that’s what happens.”
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