Last week amid the drooping Spanish moss and sand-framed golf sculpture at Congaree Golf Club, Rory McIlroy put what felt like a time stamp on the PGA Tour’s stressful 2022 schedule.
Like the diminishing daylight this time of the year, the tour’s schedule has reached its long-shadow stage with four remaining events that are for the proletariat to bolster their bank accounts and long-term tour status while the stars go their own way, some of them showing up for the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai next month.
Having 15 of the top 20 in the world ranking together at Congaree was a refreshing reminder of what it’s like when the leaderboard is speckled with the names that drive the game.
The CJ Cup also had the double-edged effect of hinting at next year with the designation of 12 elevated events while raising a question of what happens to the PGA Tour once the FedEx Cup playoffs conclude in late August.
Let’s start with the big-bang events now that the tour has added the WM Phoenix Open, RBC Heritage, Wells Fargo Championship and Travelers Championship to the eight previously announced elevated events which will feature purses of at least $20 million.
It may seem like getting to 12 was easy with some obvious choices to join the Sentry Tournament of Champions, Genesis Invitational, Arnold Palmer Invitational, WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Memorial Tournament and the three playoff events, but it took some negotiation to get there.
Bumping a purse from $9 million to $20 million is a big ask. While the tour hoped some sponsors would be willing, it became more of a shared proposition, getting closer to a 50-50 split between sponsors and the tour on the additional costs.
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