Even though the 2022 PGA Tour season has just wrapped up, and we still have the President’s Cup coming up next month, it’s never too early to start looking ahead to 2023.
This past season saw the most change in decades – some would say for better, some would say for worse – so things are going to get interesting moving forward.
New Rules for 2023
They say that one of the appeals of the PGA is that any player can be in contention on any given weekend, but new rules for 2023 are catering towards the bigger names. The TOUR seems content with abolishing the wrap-around schedule and creating more higher purse events in the Fall that feature a limited field.
The PGA is considering as many as 12 “enhanced” events in 2023 that would feature bigger prize pools but could also be limited to the game’s top stars. The PGA will boost its bonus pool to $100 million next season as part of the Player Impact Program, up from $40 million. The size of the players eligible has also doubled from 10 to 20.
Being eligible for the bigger purses is good but also demanding as it requires players to commit to 20 events over the course of the season. Twenty PGA starts could be very taxing on European players, who already have to play at least four DP World Tour Events to stay eligible for the Ryder Cup.
Jon Rahm’s start at the Tour Championship in East Lake was his 18th PGA tournament of the year, and he has been vocal, saying, “I don’t think I could add any more.”
Will they Stay or Will They Go?
It’s pretty obvious what the PGA’s new monetary boosts are intended to do, keep players from leaving to the LIV. Time will tell if that will backfire, though, as it wouldn’t be a shocker to see somebody like Rahm take $100+ million from LIV to play 14 events instead of doing the mandatory grind of the PGA and the European Tours just to maintain eligibility.
Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson have left to the LIV, but their best golf may be behind them. Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau are younger talents that have made the switch, but both of their games have been hampered by injuries in recent years. It’s obvious that for the LIV to increase viewership and become a legitimate threat to the PGA, they need to recruit some younger stars.
The first domino to drop may be the reported signing of Cam Smith, the #2 ranked OWGR player and Open Championship winner. The next wave is also set to include #18 ranked Joaquin Nieman and the very popular Harold Varner III, so it looks like the LIV is not done adding to their roster just yet.
Changing of the Guard Continues
Even though he’s still just 33 years old, Rory McIlroy’s comeback to beat Scottie Scheffler in the TOUR Championship to win the FedEx Cup was a score for ‘the old guys.’
It’s obvious that some new faces are entering their prime though led by Scheffler, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele, Will Zalatoris, and Matt Fitzpatrick.
Guys like Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas have still yet to hit 30 years old, but they’ve got a hungry pack of wolves behind them, and those are just the names we’ve heard of. Cameron Champ was a Tour rookie this year and had seven finishes in the top three.