Max Homa defends the PGA Tour's 70-80 player fields and no-cut changes

World No. 8 Max Homa defends the PGA Tour’s 70-80 player fields and no-cut changes as the American claims it is not a ‘money grab’ for top players and insists the designated events will not ‘ruin’ standard tournaments

  • 2024 designated events will have reduced fields of 70-80 players with no cuts
  • The changes faced criticism that it will be harder for players to climb the ranks
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Max Homa has defended the PGA Tour’s radical changes to its designated events, insisting it’s not just a money-grabbing exercise for top players. 

Tour commissioner Jay Monahan informed players Wednesday that from 2024 the PGA Tour’s ‘designated’ tournaments, introduced this season as a lucrative response to the threat of Saudi-backed LIV Golf, will feature reduced fields of 70-80 players with no cuts.

The changes faced some criticism from players and fans alike with claims they will make it harder for players to climb the Tour ranks. While LIV Golf and its rebels Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter taunted the PGA Tour over the similarities to the breakaway circuit’s format. 

However, Homa, a member of the Player Advisory Council responsible for drafting the new schedule, quickly came to the Tour’s defense. 

Speaking at a pre-tournament press conference at the Arnold Palmer Invitational on the heels of the announcement Wednesday, the American backed the new schedule, claiming it will benefit the fan experience, not just the players. 

Max Homa has defended the PGA Tour’s radical changes to its designated events

Tour commissioner Jay Monahan informed players Wednesday of changes to the 2024 events

He joked that he ‘could rant’ on the subject for a while before launching into his lengthy, uninterrupted statement.  

‘I love the new changes,’ he said. ‘The product is important. I think it’s easy to frame these changes as a way to put more money in the top players’ pockets. But it has been made to make it easier and more fun for the fans. I know it’s low-hanging fruit to jump on, Oh, this is just a money grab. This is to make it better for the fans. It is a guarantee on who will be at events and leaning more on the more there.

‘It is more opportunity for the top players to battle it out late on Sundays,’ Homa said. ‘Which, you look back at times of Phil and Tiger, the two best players growing up for me watching, and they had like maybe two real battles. So we’re going to have more of that.’ 

Only five years ago, the 32-year-old was floating between the PGA Tour and the Korn Ferry Tour but has become one of the game’s brightest stars, now ranked eighth in the World.

Homa, having highlighted his unique position as a player who has lived through both the struggle of battling his way up the ranks and the success of being one of the top-ranked players in the world, claimed there was still growth for rank-and-file members.

‘The non-designated events are the same purses with, on paper, weaker fields,’ Homa added. ‘There’s a lot of room for growth throughout that. You can play your way into the designated events.’

He was particularly defensive against claims that it restricted some players’ playing opportunities. 

Homa provided a unique logic, claiming that by reducing the field size for designated events actually protected the Tour’s standard tournaments. 

‘The part that’s frustrating and maybe just simply misunderstood is that if we made these fields very large in these designated events, it would ruin non-designated events,’ Homa said. ‘It would ruin them. No one would play in half of them because it would no longer fit your schedule.’

‘I think that the Tour’s done a great job of looking into it,’ he added. ‘Seeing that [70-80] would be a great number to cut to make sure that we still have competitive events that are non-designated.

The American has worked his way up the Tour ranks to currently rank eighth in the world

‘Maybe not the top-50 big names, but big names [will be] keeping the sponsors and the fans happy with the parity. 

‘Guys everybody has watched play golf, win golf tournaments and excel at this game still in those [non-designated] fields. So I think that that is an important distinction to make before jumping on something negative.’ 

The proposed changes will not apply to all the PGA Tour’s designated events, with the four majors, the Players Championship and the FedEx Cup playoff tournaments to be unaffected. 

The three FedExCup Playoffs events and the Sentry Tournament of Champions already were without a cut. The Sentry will now feature the previous year’s tournament winners as well as the top 50 in the previous year’s FedExCup.

‘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,’ Monahan said in the memo. 

‘Together, this approach provides a schedule that is cohesive, compelling, consequential and with clarity for fans, players and sponsors alike.’ 

The elevated events were launched last year with the aim of increasing opportunities for the tour’s top players to consistently play against one another and introduced increased prize purses, with a minimum of $20million in each event. 

As the events were hastily created in an effort to combat the immediate threat posed by LIV Golf’s arrival, no changes were made for the 2023 schedule. 

The three FedExCup Playoffs events (pictured 2022 winner Rory McIlroy) will be unaffected

The plan reportedly caters for opportunities for players to play their way into the designated tournaments and will not create an ecosystem more beneficial for its top stars. 

The fields will reportedly be comprised of the top 50 players who qualify for the BMW Championship during the previous season’s FedEx Cup playoffs, plus the top 10 players not otherwise eligible on the current FedEx Cup points race. There will also be five places earned through performance in standard tournaments between the designated events. 

Reigning FedEx Cup champion Rory McIlroy also endorsed the new schedule following its announcement Wednesday. 

‘I love it,’ said McIlroy. ‘I think it makes the TOUR more competitive. … I’m all about rewarding good play.’ 

‘I want to give everyone a fair shake at this, which I think this structure has done,’ he added. ‘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.

‘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.’

There have already been three designated events this year—Jon Rahm won the Sentry Tournament of Champions and Genesis Invitational, and Scottie Scheffler was victorious at the WM Phoenix Open. 

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