hile the concept of a prospective super-league remains a mystery, one facet of the PGA Tour’s start-up rival is already having an impact at the top levels of the game.
It remains to be seen whether the Saudi-backed disrupter tour will be able to attract the game’s biggest names. However, a possible rival’s competitiveness has generated discussions between top players and the PGA Tour, as well as a recognition that some things need to alter when it comes to the game’s greatest.
“For me to come out here and claim I’m the same weight as Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson, that’s simply not practical,” Justin Thomas said Wednesday in Mexico, where the PGA Tour event is being held this week. “Those guys should be rewarded… I believe that was an issue that wasn’t addressed as much in the past, but is now.”
REX HOGGARD — OCTOBER 29, 2021 AT 8:17 AM NORMAN will lead Saudi-backed golf series BY REX HOGGARD — OCTOBER 29, 2021 AT 8:17 AM
Officials from the Asian Tour announced on Friday that a new 10-event series will be introduced to the tour’s calendar next year.
Thomas specifically mentioned the new Player Impact Initiative – a $40 million program that rewards the circuit’s most popular players based on social and conventional media metrics – as well as purse increases, such as The Players Championship increasing to $20 million starting next year.
The super-league concept, which will be led by Greg Norman and at least partially funded by the Saudi sovereign wealth fund, is still shrouded in secrecy, but the widely reported idea is to pay the game’s top players enormous sums of guaranteed money to compete in limited-field events around the world.
Whatever happens, at least for players like Thomas, the immediate impact will be a more open discussion between the circuit and its stars.
“Look, the major thing that’s come out of this is that we can improve our product and get better because of stuff like this,” Thomas added. “For the first couple of years, I didn’t feel like I had the space or the voice to express my feelings about what was going on on the Tour to [Tour commissioner] Jay Monahan, when in reality, it sounds insulting to say, but they work for us.”