The buildup to this weekend's Arnold Palmer Invitational has seen more major changes revealed by Golf Weekly for the PGA Tour from 2024 onwards.
2023 saw the addition of "designated events", with 14 tournaments on the tour schedule given elevated status and increased prize money.
Next year will see many of these events drastically reduce in field size, as well as doing away with the traditional mid-tournament cut, in changes which draw the tour curiously close to the format of the much-debated LIV Golf series.
One of the most vocal critics of LIV, Rory McIlroy, is part of the field in Florida for the Arnold Palmer Invitational, and was asked for his opinion on the new format for the designated events for 2024.
The four-time major winner said he was in favour of the changes, and defended the decision to remove the cut from many of the designated events.
Rory McIlroy responds positively to PGA Tour changes
Rory McIlroy said that the proposed format changes for 2024 would allow up-and-coming players a quick opportunity to mix it in high pressure tournaments with the best in the game:
I love it. Obviously I've been a part of it and been in a ton of discussions. I think it makes the TOUR more competitive. I think we were going that way anyway. You think of, the playoffs used to be 125, 70, 30. Obviously this year they have went 70, 50, 30.
I'm all about rewarding good play. I want to give everyone a fair shake at this. Which I think this structure has done. There's ways to play into it.
It's trying to get the top guys versus the hot guys, right? I think that creates a really compelling product. But a way that you don't have to wait an entire year for your good play to then get the opportunity. That opportunity presents itself straight away.
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.
The decision to remove the cut from many of the tournaments is the most intriguing part of the proposals for the PGA Tour.
When LIV Golf launched in 2022, much debate raged - and continues to do so - about the 54-hole no-cut format of the series' tournaments. The PGA Tour's decision to move many of their biggest events to this format will no doubt raise eyebrows in the golfing world.
The biggest tournaments, such as the four major championships, FedEx Cup play-offs, and the Players Championship will not be affected by the proposed changes to the mid-tournament cut structure.
McIlroy noted this when addressing the intriguing changes, and said the proposals were still up in the air. He seemed cautiously optimistic about increasing the number of "no-cut" tournaments, saying that it would keep the biggest stars playing for the whole weekend:
Well we've always had no-cut events on this TOUR. If you think of like the four WGC's, 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. So 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.
So, yeah, is there maybe going to be a few more of them? Maybe. That's still TBD by the way. That's not been decided yet. But if we do go down that path there's precedent there to argue for no-cut events.
It keeps the stars there for four days. You ask Mastercard or whoever it is to pay 20 million dollars for a golf event, they want to see the stars at the weekend. They want a guarantee that the stars are there. So if that's what needs to happen, then that's what happens.
With the ever-increasing allure of LIV Golf, the PGA Tour is being forced to adapt to keep its position at the forefront of the game, and these latest changes are evidently an attempt to shake things up once again for 2024.