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Mark Hubbard

Torn on the PGA Tour schedule debate? Then this is a must-read

Nathan Hubbard, the brother of PGA Tour journeyman Mark Hubbard, expressed his thoughts on the new money-spinning changes – and it may just help you understand the matter a little more
 

There has been a lot of jumping up and down and shouting and screaming about the new PGA tour schedule for 2024.

NCG has explained the nuts and bolts of the changes and also documented the reactions of players from the PGA and DP World Tours, as well as LIV Golf.

On one side of the fence, good play on the circuit will be rewarded with access to the eight designated events and elevated $20 million purses.

On the other side, the Tour has been accused of hypocrisy for removing cuts in these designated events in 2024, a format used by the LIV Golf League which has previously been scrutinised.

If you are undecided about where you stand, have a read of this.

Nathan Hubbard, the brother of PGA Tour player and former Korn Ferry Tour winner Mark Hubbard, tweeted a compelling insight that helps us all understand the situation from a player who won’t necessarily enjoy the benefits of the revamped schedule.

“The methods LIV took to exploit the vulnerability in the PGA Tour are worth all the criticism,” Hubbard wrote. “But the insight behind it was completely valid: the best players are not being paid enough for the value they bring to the sport.

“The only way to solve the problem is by 1) growing the pie, and 2) redistributing it. The Tour was struggling to grow the pie because the best players weren’t all playing at the same time. It’s not far off from what we’ve seen with load management in the NBA (who should pay attention).

“These new events will deliver the best players playing together. Mission accomplished. What about paying them more?

“Redistribution is complicated because it rests on this question: Who is a star? In some cases, that’s easy – Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jon Rahm, etc – but in others, it’s not. Chris Kirk and Keith Mitchell have been two of the best golfers this year, period. Do you care?

“LIV decided to exploit the weakness in the PGA Tour by eliminating the meritocracy and going all in on ‘star power’. But the (bad) ratings indicate that fans actually like the competition and intrigue – and LIV signed mostly washed guys instead of next-gen stars.

“So to redistribute wealth while maintaining the integrity of competition, the PGA Tour introduced these eight elevated events, with no cut, that bring stars out guaranteed on the weekend – better for sponsors, more money for the pot. But how to keep integrity?

“That’s the big difference. Tour models indicate 40 per cent of guys who make the eight elevated, top 70 events will churn out each year. They’ve created on-ramps for people who aren’t guaranteed to get in – like the US Open and The Open etc. I cannot overstate how different this is!

“This is the bottom ~40 per cent of last week’s LIV golf event. The big difference between what got announced today by the PGA Tour and this: everyone on this list would be in danger of eventual relegation. It is a meritocracy versus a retirement plan. Look at the names!

“I’m not sure much changes for my brother if he’s not top 50. Purses in other events are the same, good play – including wins – gets him into better events just like today. His pay cheque – which increases exponentially based on finishing position – is bigger if Rahm [was] gone.

“It is probably the case that one or two good weeks without a win doesn’t change the trajectory of his career. But sustained excellence will be rewarded. Wouldn’t we rather have Justin Jefferson than Kenny Golladay, anyway?

pga tour schedule

“We complain that the PGA Tour doesn’t do a good job of highlighting the incredibly cool stories of the fighters – where’s the cut cam? Give me more Joel Dahmen! We just got the equivalent of a bunch of conference championship tourneys and play in games to get to the dance.

“A lot of the ‘Wait, but the cut is cool’ golf media – me included – are hurt that we defended this element of the PGA Tour for a year and they dropped it.

“We don’t represent the general populace. The majors and the majority of the PGA Tour events still have cuts.

“This is a data-based decision. You ignored the LIV bots telling you that Pat Perez is a top 20 golfer before, so ignore them telling you the Tour has become LIV. It acted intelligently on the insight LIV understood but fumbled.

“If next year sucks and the absence of the cut makes stuff boring, the Tour has shown they will adapt. Fans are, by definition, first! They drive sponsors, which drive the money. Period. LIV is failing because they didn’t translate their first-mover advantage to winning the fans.

“Max Homa is no bulls***. He stood up there today, having been in the rooms where it happens, and told you: these changes have been made because they’ve had the luxury to step back and understand how to reach the biggest audience. This is it.

“Max still lives with the fear of being 51 or 71 or 1,001 – OK, maybe not 1,001 – but he has the perspective of the guys like my brother. He is in many ways the fan that the rest of us are – it’s the only thing that explains his blind loyalty to Tiger, the Tour, and his tears at Riv!

“So I trust his advocacy. My brother and his team have been talking all season about how top 70 was the goal. OK, it’s top 50 now. That’s basically determined by how you play in Memphis at the first Playoff event. Nothing changes, no surprises. Still trying to win every week.”

Did Nathan Hubbard’s Twitter thread enlighten you on the PGA Tour’s announcement? Tweet me and let me know!

Matt Chivers

Matt Chivers

Now on the wrong side of 25, Matt has been playing golf since the age of 13 and was largely inspired to take up the game by countless family members who played golf during his childhood.

Matt is a member at Royal Cinque Ports in Deal playing off a 5 handicap, just a pitching wedge away from his hometown of Dover where he went to school and grew up. He has previously been a member at Etchinghill and Walmer and Kingsdown in Kent.

Having studied history at the University of Liverpool, Matt went on to pass his NCTJ Exams in Manchester a year later to fulfil his lifelong ambition of becoming a journalist. He picked up work experience along the way at places such as the Racing Post, the Independent, Sportsbeat and the Lancashire Evening Post.

Matt joined NCG in February 2023 and is the website’s main source of tour news, features and opinion. He has reported live from events such as The Open, the Ryder Cup and The Players Championship, having also interviewed and spoken to the likes of Rory McIlroy, Tommy Fleetwood, Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell, Henrik Stenson, to name just a few.

Consuming tour golf on what is a 24/7 basis, you can come to Matt for informed views on the game and the latest updates on the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA Tour, Ladies European Tour and LIV Golf.

What’s in Matt’s bag: Cobra LTDx LS driver, Cobra LTDx 3-wood, TaylorMade P7MC irons, Ping Glide 4.0 wedges, Odyssey putter.

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