The PGA Tour is looking to reduce fields and eliminate cuts in certain events beginning in the 2024 season

With all the momentum on its side in 2023, the PGA Tour may have taken a misstep into 2024 when the tour approved changes to several of its designated big-money events on Tuesday. The fields at these elevated tournaments will be reduced in size starting in 2024 and no cuts will be made, the PGA Tour announced on Monday.

Eight designated events in 2024 consist of fields of 70-78 players with no cuts after completing the first two rounds.

“These smaller, dedicated venues will not only provide our fans with expansive, not-to-be-missed tournaments at key intervals throughout the season, they will also enhance the quality of full-field events,” said Jay Monahan, President of the PGA Tour a note. “Together, this approach results in a timeline that is coherent, compelling, consistent and clear to fans, players and sponsors alike.”

This year’s Phoenix Open, for example, had 132 golfers, but next year there may only be 70-80 in the field. The same goes for events like the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club and the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill. Also, Phoenix’s field was cut to 66 after two days of games, but under next year’s rules it won’t be cut at all.

If that sounds familiar, that’s because it is. The PGA Tour has almost always hosted World Golf Championships for the past 20 years, which have included many of the world’s top stars in limited-stakes, no-cut tournaments. The WGCs were successful but never overdone.

On the other hand, the planned events in 2023 have been structured in such a way that all top players can participate and have been a great success so far. While much of the year still remains and Phoenix and Riviera are always nice stops, it becomes clear that the division between designated and non-designated events is a good thing. However, that didn’t stop the tour from significantly changing its scheduled events in 2024.

The proposal, which will go into effect in January 2024, certainly has some positives – namely that golfers who do well in non-designated events (the Honda Classics and Valspar Championships of the World) will be able to sign up and play at the Phoenix Open Genesis Invitations.

Fields at certain events will consist of the top 50 players who qualified for the BMW Championship during the previous season’s FedEx Cup Playoffs, as well as the top 10 players not otherwise qualified for the current FedExCup points race. Five spots are also awarded, earned through performances in non-designated events.

This is good because it clarifies how you can move up and down between the two. That’s tremendous context, but the door may not be open wide enough. Fried Egg’s Andy Johnson recently suggested the tour would go to 100-player fields with a variety of exceptions to the designated events. I largely agree with his assessment.

One positive aspect of the move, as highlighted by several people, is that the FedEx Cup race will have greater prominence earlier in the year than ever before. Suddenly, the FedEx Cup in January and February 2024 will matter in a way that it might not currently.

It remains to be seen if the same tournaments will host specific events in 2024. There have been rumors that certain events could be moved to different tournaments, maybe Pebble Beach or maybe even somewhere like PGA National, but nothing has been announced for 2024 yet.

“So far this year has been extremely positive, but we just have to keep the momentum going on that front,” Tiger Woods said at the Genesis Invitational earlier this year.

Woods was instrumental in getting everyone on the same page when it came to playing a consistent schedule. This reaction, which took place at the end of last season, was an apparent reaction from LIV Golf, which hosts… small-field, no-cut tournaments.

“This is a big transition year in ’24,” added Woods. Twenty-four is going to be a completely different schedule, but it’s about the players’ commitment to that kind of idea and that kind of philosophy going forward, and so far it’s been fantastic.

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