PGA Tour increases prize money at 12 events to match LIV Golf

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Cameron Smith
PGA Tour advocate Rory McIlroy has spoken to Open champion Cameron Smith, who has been linked with joining LIV Golf

The PGA Tour is increasing prize money at 12 events to match those of LIV Golf, but the tour’s chief says players who have already joined the breakaway league will not be welcomed back.

Commissioner Jay Monahan announced on Wednesday that 12 PGA events would now have an average purse of $20m (£16.9m).

Top players will play in all 12, and 20 events in total, across the season.

The changes come after Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods met other top Tour players to discuss the threat of LIV Golf.

A number of high-profile players have left the established tours for the new Saudi-backed eight-event series, which boasts a £200m prize fund.

Major winners Brooks Koepka, Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau and Dustin Johnson are among those to have joined, and the PGA responded with indefinite bans.

Asked if those who have left would be welcomed back if lured by the changes to the PGA Tour, Monahan replied: “No. They’ve joined the LIV Golf Series and they’ve made that commitment.

“For most of them, they’ve made multi-year commitments. As I’ve been clear throughout, every player has a choice, and I respect their choice, but they’ve made it. We’ve made ours.”

Reigning Open and Players Championship winner Cameron Smith has been linked with joining LIV Golf, and McIlroy said he had spoken to the Australian.

“I don’t care if they leave or not, it’s not going to make a difference to me, but I would at least like people to make a decision that is completely informed,” said Northern Ireland’s McIlroy.

Speaking before the Tour Championship – the final PGA Tour event of the season – Monahan explained that the top players would play in all four majors, the Players Championship, the 12 events with increased prize money, and an additional three events per season.

Other changes include an increased payout for the player impact programme, which pays players who generate coverage for the tour.

That will be doubled from $50m (£42.3m) to $100m (£84.6m) and rewards 20 players.

There will also be guaranteed earnings of at least $500,000 (£423,000) for every player at the developmental Korn Ferry Tour priority category and above.

Monahan was also asked if making these changes earlier could have prevented LIV Golf from starting up.

“I don’t think there’s any scenario where they weren’t launching,” he responded.

“I think that the moves that we’re making right now are the right moves for this organisation, and we’re going to continue to make more of them.”

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