Just as the threat of the Saudi backed Super Golf League seemed to be receding, a US$ 350mn Premier Golf League (PGL) is threatening to debut in January 2023. The PGL, headed by Barclays Director Andrew Gardiner, is a project run by British based World Golf Group, which would include 18 tournaments with 12 teams of 4 players each, like Formula 1. The 48 player events plan to offer US$ 20mn in prize money each week with the winner picking up US$ 4mn prize and the last player US$ 150,000. The League was first announced in February 2020.
The current biggest prize on the PGA Tour is the US$15 mn Players Championship, where the winner takes home US$ 2.7mn,.
We think elite professional golf can be better 🏆 A thread 👇
— Premier Golf League (@premgolfleague) June 9, 2021
PGL had reached out to top players like World No.1 Dustin Johnson and six-time major winner Phil Mickelson. In January, Tiger Woods said that he and his team were “looking into it”, and Phil Mickelson added that the concept looked “intriguing”. But few players despise the general idea of another tour, which makes PGL’s case weak. As per Golf.com, some of the others invited to join are – the current Masters Champion Hideki Matsuyama, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas. The Telegraph later reported that Bryson DeChambeau, Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson, Adam Scott and Rickie Fowler are also mulling offers.
Last year, the PGL organisers had met with the European Tour and looked to be reaching a deal before the PGA Tour made a lucrative offer and closed ranks against the PGL.
The PGA Tour commissioner Jay Mohanan in May had warned players with suspension if they plan to join the rival tour.
Earlier in April, the PGA Tour announced the Player Impact Program with a US$ 40mn bonus pool to reward players driving engagement in the digital world. Popularity on Google Search and Social Media engagement are among metrics being used to determine player’s ‘Impact Score’. The US$ 40mn pool is to be distributed among ten players, with the most valuable receiving US$ 8mn.
Recently PGL released a statement saying: “We’re doing this because we believe professional golf can and should do better, for the fans, players and golf’s wider community. Our sole objective is to get more people watching and playing the game we love.”
On June 10, as reported by ESPN, Andy Gardiner, CEO of the Premier Golf League, has been seeking a meeting with the PGA Tour for over two years now. Gardiner was quoted saying, “All we want is a conversation, we’ve never been the enemy. But I can understand why we’ve been perceived as such. But we’d love to be friends. I’ve not had that opportunity so far. And I will be redoubling my efforts. We want to have a conversation in the best possible way to ensure they understand where we are coming from and why we are doing it and to ensure that nobody’s feelings will be hard done.”
British-based World Golf Group backs the project. The idea has been in the works for over six years, which says it plans 18 tournament scheduled between January and August with 48 players in 54-hole tournaments. The events wouldn’t clash with the Majors or Ryder Cup. Play is proposed in shotgun start to end within a 5 hour window for better Broadcaster interest. Apparently major global sponsors and broadcasters have been consulted to design the League.