PGA Tour commissioner believes top players will be at some fall events

AP file photo by Seth Wenig / PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan doesn't believe the top players on the circuit will sit out the entire fall schedule despite not being required to play during that part of the year.

The PGA Tour's current season ends Aug. 27. The Ryder Cup starts a month later. And then the top 50 players in the FedEx Cup standings will not have to play again until the start of 2024 unless they want to add to their trophy case or bank account.

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan doesn't see many top players staying home all that time.

"I don't think it's realistic a player is going to the finish the Ryder Cup or the Presidents Cup and not play golf until January," Monahan said last week at the Wells Fargo Championship.

The idea of a real offseason sounds good on paper. Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods are among the golfers who have called for a shorter regular season over the years. In 2005, Woods was lobbying for a condensed schedule that would bring the best players together more often.

The FedEx Cup arrived in 2007, and Woods was true to his word. He didn't play for 10 weeks, returning at his Target World Challenge in December. He won, prompting Scottish player Colin Montgomerie to say, "If he took a bloody year off, it would help — never mind 10 weeks."

Mickelson had a stretch of playing later in the year after the Tour Championship in Singapore, China and the California event his management company ran. All were tied with corporate and business deals. Woods wound up going to Australia and Asia until back problems slowed him.

Now the PGA Tour will get a sense of how this generation of stars will react.

FedEx Cup points continue during the seven-tournament fall schedule, though the top 50 are locked in for all the $20 million events. The fall is for players to keep full status by finishing in the top 125 or to improve their position to qualify for some of the big events.

So why play? The way Monahan sees it, that's just what they do.

"I still think players want to say sharp. They're going to be competing against players in the top 70. I think you'll see the same, if not more players playing at that time of the year," he said. "Listen, winning is always going to have an incredible consequence on your career."

If that's the case, still to be determined is where the top players go. It was Ernie Els who said in 2007 the latter part of the year is when "you've got the wheelbarrow out. You want to cash in a little bit."

It's also worth noting the case of the LIV Golf League. Some top players, such as Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka, went three months without competing after the inaugural season ended in 2022.

Time off did wonders for Koepka's health, and he had a runner-up finish at the Masters.

Johnson hasn't contended anywhere since returning and is No. 20 in the LIV Golf standings.

New tournament

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — The PGA Tour is returning to the Grand Strand.

The tour announced Wednesday a four-year agreement to hold a full-field event with a purse of $3.9 million starting in 2024 at the Dunes Golf and Beach Club.

The event, called the Myrtle Beach Classic, will be held the same week as one of the tour's designated events that feature increased prize money. The dates will be announced when the tour releases next season's schedule.

"With its incredible passion for golf, the Myrtle Beach community is a natural fit to bring this tournament to life," PGA Tour president Tyler Dennis said in a release.

The tournament will give the Palmetto State multiple tour events for the third time in four seasons to go along with the annual RBC Heritage on Hilton Head Island, played last month as an elevated event with $3.6 million given to winner Matthew Fitzpatrick.

The PGA Championship was played on Kiawah Island and a tour event was held at Congaree Country Club in Ridgeland, near Hilton Head Island, in 2021. Congaree also hosted the CJ Cup in October 2022.

The Dunes Club has played host to several pro golf events. The season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship for the PGA Tour Champions, then known as the Senior PGA Tour, was played there from 1994 to 1999. The venue also held the PGA Tour Q-school finals in 1973.