GOLF: Event purses up to $10 million
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. — The PGA Championship and The Players Championship will share the distinction of having golf’s richest tournament next year by offering $10 million in prize money.
In a new spirit of cooperation, PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem and PGA of America President Ted Bishop announced the purse increases Wednesday. That marks a 25 percent increase for the PGA Championship, making its purse the largest of the four majors. It was $8 million this year.
The Players Championship for years had the largest purse — $9.5 million this year.
The announcement at Sea Island was part of a new collaboration between two groups that once were part of the same organization. Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus were largely responsible in 1968 for tournament players breaking away from the PGA of America because they felt it was more concerned with the club pro business.
Finchem said the idea was for them to work together toward a common goal of growing the game.
He said the PGA Tour would run public service announcements during its televised events to highlight PGA of America programs such as “Get Golf Ready.” It also plans to feature PGA professionals in its weekly television shows and use PGA pros at tournaments to give clinics.
Bishop noted that Ryder Cup points are being awarded during the fall to honor the PGA Tour’s new wraparound season.
“There’s probably never been a better time of collaboration and cooperation between our two organizations since the PGA Tour and PGA of America split back in 1968,” Bishop said. “I think that in a lot of ways, we’re just beginning to scratch the surface in ways that we can really impact the game positively when we work together.”
It also could give the two organizations a stronger voice over proposed rules changes.
Both of them were opposed to the ban on anchored putters earlier this year.
The U.S. Golf Association and Royal & Ancient Golf Club eventually approved a new rule banning the way long putters are anchored starting in 2016.
“I would hope that together we combine for a powerful voice in saying that as changes are implemented in the future, they need to align with what’s positive for the growth of the game and the business of the game,” Bishop said.
Bishop argued that banning the way long putters are used will drive people away from golf.
Finchem said all golf organizations need to work together, understanding there will be disagreements.
“The fact that we didn’t agree on an issue this past year-and-a-half should not temper in any way our enthusiasm for collaboration,” Finchem said. “So we hadn’t really looked at it from that perspective of having a stronger position, because who knows? We may not agree ourselves on something like a rule.”