The professional golf landscape has changed more over the past year than ever before. It all started with the upstart LIV Golf Tour poaching some of the PGA Tour’s top talent like Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, and Bryson DeChambeau amongst others.
The massive player contracts given to LIV Golf Tour members essentially forced the hand of the PGA Tour to break open the proverbial piggy bank and create unprecedented ‘designated events’ with prize pools of $20 million or more.
This week, the PGA Tour announced ‘radical’ new changes to the 2024 season. The biggest change is the designated events with $20M+ prize pools won’t have halfway cuts. This is going to be HUGE for the tournament sponsors but there are OWGR implications.
Golf analyst Peter Kostis posed a question on Twitter. He asked what happens to the TV contracts and sponsor contracts of the non-designated events.
Question. What happens to the TV contracts, sponsor contracts and purse sizes of the non-designated events in 2024? All of these were negotiated with a different landscape. Will sponsors and TV pay the same $ for what is perceived to be a lesser product?
— Peter Kostis (@peterjkostis) March 2, 2023
Phil Mickelson replied to Peter Kostis with an answer about OWGR points. The LIV Golf Tour still desperately needs OWGR points awarded for its events or its players will begin to drop out of contention for the Major Championships.
Phil Mickelson implies there’s a PGA Tour-OWGR conspiracy
Here is what Phil Mickelson had to say about the TV deal and OWGR points…
Of course, there are implications here for tours outside of LIV Golf and the PGA Tour. Phil Mickelson is implying OWGR knows awarding points elsewhere (ie., LIV Golf) would hurt benchmarks the PGA Tour needs to meet.
But what happens to the European Tour in all of this? Going forward, European players will have less incentive to play their home event because they want/need to accrue the most OWGR points in order to get into the PGA Tour’s designated events with the largest prize pools.
LIV Golf Receives Positive OWGR News
The LIV Golf Tour is waiting on an answer from OWGR about points awarded.
An announcement in December opened a path for LIV to secure the much-needed OWGR points. That came when the Gira de Golf Professional de Mexicana was awarded points.
The primary difference between LIV and Gira de Golf Professional de Mexicana is the latter has a 36-hole cut in the 54-hole events. LIV has no cut.
An interesting tidbit though is it was revealed the application process took 16 months from application to decision. So LIV could have a long wait.
More recently, LIV received good news on the OWGR front after a statement from DP World Tour chief executive Keith Pelley. Pelley revealed to The Telegraph that he, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan, and DP World Tour chief operating Officer Keith Waters had all removed themselves from the OWGR board for this decision-making process.
“At the last OWGR board meeting (in December) myself, Jay Monahan and Keith Waters recused ourselves and now a separate committee made up of the four Majors will now determine the application.”
Keith Pelly added “I have not looked at the LIV application and I’ve not given my opinions on an application I’ve not seen. So, as far as LIV goes, we are not involved in it and have no influence or say in what transpires.”
Phil Mickelson and the LIV Golf Tour are inching closer to receiving OWGR points. But the wait could still drag on for another year…