All eyes will turn to Connecticut on Wednesday for PGA Tour’s response to LIV Golf defections

CROMWELL, Conn. – Significant announcements regarding the future of professional golf typically come from places like St. Andrews, Scotland, which is the home of the R&A and the Old Course or Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, where the PGA Tour is headquartered. Far Hills, New Jersey, home of the United States Golf Association, has also made some headlines over the years.

But on Wednesday, all eyes will be focused on Cromwell, Connecticut, situated 10 miles south of Hartford with a population of about 14,000 people. The home of TPC River Highlands and this week’s Travelers Championship, Cromwell will be where PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan will hold one of the most important press conferences in recent golf history.

The PGA Tour indefinitely suspended 17 members who took part in the Saudi Arabian-backed LIV Golf Series event in London two weeks ago, including World Golf Hall of Famer Phil Mickelson, two-time major winner Dustin Johnson and 11-time PGA Tour winner and 2017 Masters champion Sergio Garcia.

On Tuesday, Brooks Koepka, a four-time major winner and former world No. 1 player, changed the information on his social media accounts and removed references to the PGA Tour. At the same time, reports swirled that Koepka, who is currently ranked No. 19 on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR), was joining the LIV Series.

Mexico’s Abraham Ancer, who is currently ranked No. 20 in the world, was officially welcomed by LIV on Tuesday, a week after 2020 US Open winner Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed, the 2018 Masters champion, announced that they are joining the breakaway tour.

As that was happening, over 100 PGA Tour players attended a meeting Tuesday morning where Monahan reportedly laid out a framework of future changes to the tour’s schedule. After the meeting, there were whispers about adding big-purse, no-cut events for elite players starting in 2023.

Monahan also took part in a PGA Tour policy board meeting Tuesday afternoon, where more details and possible changes to how the PGA Tour operates were undoubtedly on the docket.

“We’re in a weird time right now,” said Harris English, who is defending his title this week at the Travelers Championship. “I trust they’re doing everything they can in the best interests of the players, and we got to let them go to work.”

Which brings us back to the importance of Jay Monahan’s press conference on Wednesday at 1 pm Eastern. One year ago, a rival golf tour backed by money from Saudi Arabia was theoretical, but today, it’s here, and Monahan has acknowledged that it is a threat.

Players like defending FedEx Cup champion Patrick Cantlay also see the exodus of talent from the PGA Tour to the LIV Series as a threat.

“A lot of us are hyper-competitive out here, and that’s maybe what drove us to be as good as we are,” Cantlay said. “So any time there’s a potential fracture in the sport, I do not think that’s good for the sport. You do not see it in any of the other major sports. In general all the talent is on one tour or league. So, yeah, I think it’s definitely a real concern. ”

What Monahan and the PGA Tour hope to do Wednesday is deter more stars from jumping ship and joining Greg Norman and the LIV Series. He needs to also to make it very clear what the consequences will be for those who do. At the same time, it is clear that new incentives and events for the game’s best players need to be announced, while at the same time, the PGA Tour’s rank and file players need to maintain opportunities to compete. With the LIV Series paying golfers set fees plus the money they earn for their performance on the course, there is a growing sentiment that the PGA Tour needs to provide a safety net for its players, especially pros who struggle with chances to play.

“You have a lot of guys who play on the PGA Tour that are losing money if they do not have a good year,” English said. He went on to say, “For me, being on the PGA Tour, you can not lose money.”

The LIV Series has applied to have world ranking points awarded to players who play its events, and Monahan has a seat on the eight-person board of the OWGR, but it is improbable we will get new on that front Wednesday. That discussion is going to play out over months and potentially years.

These are not the things Jay Monahan or the Travelers Championship wanted to discuss on the eve of Connecticut’s biggest sporting event this year. But as Harris English said, we’re in a weird time.

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How it started vs. how it’s going: Here’s what pro golfers said before about LIV Golf, and what they’s saying now

2022 LIV Golf London

2022 LIV Golf London

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