Jay Monahan has announced that next year's calendar will look very different. But this all feels very familiar, as Matt Chivers explains

Having only just ticked over into March, we have already seen a sizeable chunk of the PGA Tour’s designated event schedule in 2023.

But further changes are set to take place to make the Tour’s designated events more exclusive – which means they’re harder to get in.

The Tour has since confirmed a new approach in 2024 which will see the fields in eight designated events cut down to between 70 and 78 players with no halfway cut.

The majors, the Players Championship, and the FedEx Cup Playoffs will remain untouched in this regard, but to use the example of this week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, this is an event that in 12 months’ time could be subject to the new format.

Smaller field sizes could be an issue with players who hover around the edge of the top 70 in the FedEx Cup standings, but the Tour will provide opportunities for these players to earn eligibility for the new-look designated events.

Fields at designated events will be made up of the top 50 players who qualify for the BMW Championship in the previous season, with the top 10 players not already qualified via the FedEx Cup points list getting a spot too.

Any winner on the Tour would become immediately eligible for any designated event and other qualification criteria will include the top 30 in Official World Golf Rankings and four sponsorship exemptions.

An aim of the 2024 calendar-year schedule is to hold back-to-back designated events, followed by three non-designated, followed by two designated.

This initiative could address the concern that non-designated events will lose sponsors, such as the Honda Classic, as the best players will likely use them as rest weeks between big tournaments.

The top five players who excel at the string of three non-designated events will earn places in the $20 million purse tournaments which were introduced to nail down the best players on the Tour.

“These smaller, designated event fields will not only deliver substantial, can’t-miss tournaments to our fans at important intervals throughout the season, but they will also enhance the quality of full field events,” Monahan said in a memo to the PGA Tour membership.

“Together, this approach provides a schedule that is cohesive, compelling, consequential and with clarity for fans, players and sponsors alike.”

A number of PGA Tour players and LIV Golf participants have had their say on the matter, and their views were unsurprisingly divided.

Following an infamous meeting in Delaware last August between a host of players, including Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, the elevated event structure was devised and soon after announced by commissioner Jay Monahan.

The first changes, which also require the top 20 players from the previous season’s Player Impact Program to play at least 20 times, were made to combat the rise of LIV Golf, a new league that split the professional game in 2022.

One could argue that reduced fields and removal of cuts resemble the format of the LIV Golf League which kicked off its second season in Mexico in February.

Greg Norman’s breakaway tour features 54-hole events with $25 million purses. There is no 36-hole cut which is one feature that is critical in their application for OWGR status.

If you are still torn on which side of this debate you come down on, we’d suggest heading to Nathan Hubbard’s Twitter account which has a detailed thread on the matter.

The news brought a reaction from LIV player Talor Gooch who tweeted a graphic expressing his thoughts on the matter.

While another LIV Golf defector, Lee Westwood, also weighed in…

What do you make of the latest changes to the PGA Tour schedule? Tweet me and let me know!

Matt Chivers

Tour Editor

Matt is NCG's man for all things going on in the world of tour golf. Kent born and bred, Matt is 7 handicap at Royal Cinque Ports and spent many years caddying at Royal St George's before moving north to study history at the University of Liverpool. Away from golf, Matt is an avid Arsenal fan and horse racing enthusiast. He is also keen to point out his surname is pronounced Chiv-ers, not Chive-ers.

Handicap: 7

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