MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am is cutting its field nearly in half and eliminating one of the three courses, part of the price to become a signature event with a $20 million purse in a revamped 2024 schedule the PGA Tour released Monday.
Pebble Beach replaces the Phoenix Open as a signature event, which was expected. What it gave up was the 156-man field, each with a prominent amateur, playing Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill and Monterey Peninsula over 54 holes before a cut to the final round.
Next year Pebble Beach will have 80 players and 80 amateurs competing for 36 holes at Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill, with only the pros advancing to the weekend at Pebble Beach.
The signature events, with fields between 70 and 80 players, will not have a 36-hole cut except for the three player-hosted invitationals — the Genesis Invitational at Riviera (Tiger Woods), the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill and the Memorial (Jack Nicklaus).
Those will cut to the low 50 and ties and anyone within 10 shots of the lead. The invitationals also will award $4 million to the winner — equal to the payoff at LIV Golf — compared with $3.6 million for the winner at the other five signature events.
The PGA Tour returns to a calendar year — January through August — for the first time since 2013. And while only the prize funds for the signature events were announced, top players can expect to make more money than ever.
The winner of the FedEx Cup will get a $25 million bonus, up from $18 million this year. The winner of the Comcast Business Tour Top 10 — the player who leads the points list after the regular season — gets an $8 million bonus. Jon Rahm earned $4 million this year.
Players who have a big season — similar to Rahm or Scottie Scheffler this year — could make upward of $50 million.
Commissioner Jay Monahan said the schedule “will create consistent excitement for our fans and reward players like never before.”
The PGA Tour also attempted to spread out the limited-field, signature events and did that with few exceptions. The Phoenix Open will be Feb. 8-11 — one week after Pebble Beach, one week before the Genesis Invitational at Riviera. Phoenix prefers to end on Super Bowl Sunday and has generated its own level of loud over the years with its raucous party scene.
But that means moving the Memorial off Memorial Day, putting it one week before the U.S. Open. It’s the start of three straight weeks, concluding with the Travelers Championship.
The signature events also allow room for players to qualify. They are for the top 50 in the FedEx Cup standings this year, which will be determined after the FedEx St. Jude Invitational this week at the TPC Southwind.
Players will have incentive to play in the fall if they miss out because Nos. 51-60 at the end of the fall schedule will be exempt into Pebble Beach and Riviera. After that, the top 10 players available in the current FedEx Cup standings will get in the $20 million events.
There also is room for five players who lead a special points list from the tournaments between signature events.
The season starts Jan. 4 at Kapalua with the Sentry Tournament of Champions and ends Sept. 1 with the Tour Championship, a week later than usual because of the Olympics in France. Kapalua, previously a winners-only start to the year, now has the top 50 from the FedEx Cup.
The other signatures events are Kapalua, RBC Heritage at Hilton Head; the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow; and the Travelers Championship in Connecticut.
The Travelers has a long history of awarding exemptions to rising amateurs and recent college graduates. Now its limited field is restricted to the FedEx Cup standings and four exemptions for PGA Tour members.
Nathan Grube, the tournament director, said the Travelers wants to keep its reputation of giving young players an exemption.
“The young players are part of our DNA,” Grube said Monday. “No, the exemption process won’t be like it was. But we are going to figure out a way to keep a relationship with the young guys that are out there.”
The tour also has five opposite-field events, adding stops in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (the same week as Quail Hollow). It has yet to name a title sponsor for the event previously held in Kentucky, along with a title sponsor for what had been the Honda Classic.
Pat Eaton-Robb in Hartford, Connecticut, contributed to this report.
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