Rory McIlroy dismissed claims the PGA Tour was copying LIV by removing the cut from some events in 2024 amid a raft of changes, declaring: “There‘s been no-cut events since I’ve been a member of the Tour and way beyond that as well.”
PGA Tour boss Jay Monahan unveiled a revamped schedule he said would “transform and set the future direction” for the tour, with some changes mirroring some of those that make up part of Greg Norman’s breakaway LIV Golf league.
The 2024 season will feature eight designated events that will have fields of 70-78 players competing for elevated purses without a 36-hole cut.
All LIV events are 54-hole, no-cut events, which has been a source of criticism from the likes of McIlroy and even Tiger Woods, who declared there was little incentive to work hard given the guaranteed money.
The LIV Golf Twitter accounted declared “imitation is the greatest form of flattery” and “welcome to the future” in a post liked by Norman in response to the PGA Tour news.
But McIlroy said the no-cut events would only be open to the best and most in-form players, and when sponsors put up huge money for the events, which could be worth in excess of $20m, “they want the best players there on the weekends”.
He also said no-cut events were not new.
“It’s trying to get the top guys versus the hot guys, right? I think that creates a really compelling product,” he said at the Bay Hill event.
“You play well for two or three weeks, you‘re in a designated event. You know then if you keep playing well you stay in them.
“We‘ve always had no-cut events on this Tour. If you think of like the four WGC’s (World Golf Championship) events, you’ve got the three playoffs events, you’ve got the CJ Cup, the Zozo, so there’s precedent there for no-cut events.
“The only reason no-cut events are a big deal is because LIV has come along. There is precedent for no-cut events. There’s been no-cut events since I’ve been a member of the Tour and way beyond that as well.”
World No.2 Scottie Scheffler said the changes meant the “the top guys in the world playing against each other more often”.
“You’re going to be able to guarantee the sponsors that those guys are going to be there four days,” he said.
“If you’re coming out to an event to watch on Saturday and Sunday and, you know, if I’m imagining myself as a kid I would like to get out there early.
“Let’s say I’m having a bad week, some kid can come out and watch me play early in the day and you can guarantee that Rory McIlroy’s going to be there on Sunday, Jon Rahm’s going to be there on Sunday.”
The details on which events would be considered “designated” in 2024 and beyond is yet to be confirmed.