PGA Tour stance on LIV Golf promotional event creates curious 2024 circumstance

We are less than two months from the Dec. 31, 2023, deadline for the PGA Tour to strike a deal with the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF).

That cutoff point could be pushed back, of course, or the framework agreement made public on Jun. 6, 2023, could be dropped altogether.

Regardless, the PGA Tour made a recent announcement that is a stark departure from how it has dealt with LIV Golf over the past couple of years.

The tour will allow its members to compete in the LIV Golf Promotions event in December in Abu Dhabi, according to Alex Miceli of Sports Illustrated.

“Based on the information publicly available regarding the LIV Golf Promotion event, it is determined to be a qualifying event only and not a part of an unauthorized series,” a PGA Tour spokesman said to Sports Illustrated.

“Therefore, the LIV Golf Promotion event is not categorized as an ‘unauthorized tournament.’ This classification is subject to change should the details of the event change.”

Former PGA Tour members who now play on the LIV Golf circuit have been suspended since Jun. 9, 2022.

Perhaps that signals progress between the two stakeholders regarding a pending agreement.

Dustin Johnson, LIV Golf

Dustin Johnson at the 2023 LIV Golf Invitational – Miami event.
Photo by Michele Eve Sandberg/Getty Images

Regardless, in October, LIV Golf unveiled its promotions event, awarding the top three finishers with LIV Golf memberships for the 2024 season.

The tournament will be 72 holes of stroke play over three days, with the final 36 holes coming on the last day. The overall purse is $1.5 million, with the top three taking home $200,000, $150,000, and $100,000, respectively.

But the format of this event is a little more complicated than that.

The first round will feature winners of the U.S. and British Amateur championships, Latin-America Amateur, Asia-Pacific Amateur, and European Amateur, and those players ranked from sixth to 32nd in the International Series rankings. Players ranked within the top 200 in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) and the top 20 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking are also eligible for round one.

After that initial round, the scores are reset, and the top 20 players advance to round two, where another set of players will enter the mix.

Current PGA Tour members, should they choose to enter, will likely begin play during this stage.

Those eligible to begin play for round two include relegated LIV Golf players, winners of a PGA Tour or a DP World Tour event, major champions since 2018, Ryder Cup and President Cup players, and those ranked inside the top five on the International Series standings.

From there, the top 20 players will advance into the final two rounds of play, where scores are once again reset for the last 36 holes.

Then, the top three finishers gain entry into the 2024 LIV Golf season.

Whether any current PGA Tour players will be a part of that remains to be seen. Yet, interestingly, a relegated LIV Golfer is currently working his way through PGA Tour Q-School, hoping to secure a tour card for the 2024 season.

Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko for more golf coverage. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough too.

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