More changes are coming to the PGA Tour’s schedule in 2024.
"These smaller, Designated event fields will not only deliver substantial, can't-miss tournaments to our fans at important intervals throughout the season, but they will also enhance the quality of Full-Field events," Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said in a memo. "Together, this approach provides a schedule that is cohesive, compelling, consequential and with clarity for fans, players and sponsors alike."
The new Designated Event Model includes 16 total events, though half of those are the four major championships, The Players Championship and the FedExCup Playoffs. The remaining eight designated events have not yet been determined, but they will feature a field of up to 80 golfers, have no cut and elevated purses and points.
It will be possible to play into a designated event, too. Golfers otherwise ineligible who sit inside the top 10 in the current FedExCup standings or win a tournament in that season will earn a spot in the designated events.
"There's ways to play into it. It's trying to get the top guys versus the hot guys, right?" Rory McIlroy said Wednesday ahead of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. "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 an 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 full qualification system includes:
Top 50 players from last season’s FedExCup standings
Top 10 players from current FedExCup standings
Top 5 players, not currently eligible, earning most FedExCup points in tournaments between designated events
Current year tournament winners that are otherwise ineligible
Tour members in the Official World Golf Ranking top 30
Four sponsor exemptions
The designated event model is something that the Tour introduced this season, which came amid its battle with LIV Golf. There are 17 total events with that designation, including the four majors and the FedExCup Playoffs. Outside of an elevated purse and an extra 50 FedExCup points, however, the events are largely the same.
They have drawn a much stronger field than in recent years, however, which has made for very entertaining golf early in the season. Jon Rahm, the current top-ranked golfer in the world, has won two of the three designated events held so far this season. Scottie Scheffler won the other, which briefly put him back at No. 1 in the Official World Golf Rankings.
Those two and McIlroy are in the field this week at Bay Hill Club — the fourth designated event of the season — which should create another battle for the top spot.
The designated events for 2024 have not yet been finalized, but the goal is to spread them out somewhat evenly throughout the year. The full schedule, which is changing back to a calendar-year schedule, will be revealed “at a later date.”
"I think it's exciting because you're going to have the top guys in the world playing against each other more often," Scheffler said Wednesday. "You're going to be able to guarantee the sponsors that those guys are going to be there four days.
"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. I think that's a lot of value added to TV and for sponsors."