Premier Golf League to the PGA Tour: Let's join forces instead of compete with one another
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Premier Golf League to the PGA Tour: Let’s join forces instead of compete with one another



The Premier Golf League has approached the PGA Tour with a proposal: Rather than seeking to compete with each other, the PGL wishes to operate as a concept under the PGA Tour umbrella.

According to Geoff Shackelford, the World Golf Group, under which the Premier Golf League concept has been developed over seven years, sent a memo to the PGA Tour in September, suggesting the PGL's team-based concept could operate as a spin-off of the Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.-based organization.

In an interview with ESPN, PGL CEO Andy Gardiner suggested that he would still seek to operate his organization's proposed 18-event schedule. The events would be 54 holes, with a shotgun start for the 48-player field organized into 12 teams. Each event would have a minimum $20 million purse, with $4 million to the winner and $150,000 for the last-place finisher. The events would each feature a $1 million prize pool for a team-based competition, and there would be a season-ending team competition.

The 18 events would replace 18 existing PGA Tour events, with 10 of the events contested at current PGA Tour tournament sites and existing event staff re-assigned to the PGL events. As for the rest of the schedule, Gardiner suggested to ESPN that the remaining, non-PGL players would compete in a 32-event schedule for approximately $140 million in total prize money. In other words, the PGA Tour schedule would become secondary to the Premier Golf League's shorter docket, and the lesser-known players would compete for an average purse of $4.375 million -- dramatically lower than the minimum purse outside of opposite-field events.

Further, the proposal calls for the PGA Tour to become a for-profit company, losing its 501(c)(6) tax-exempt status, and for half of the ownership interest to go to the players -- who, conceptually, could form a broader organization to control that stake. World Golf Group would own 30 percent, with 10 percent going toward assorted other PGA Tour stakeholders and another 10 percent going toward a foundation meant to grow golf participation worldwide.

According to Shackelford, the PGA Tour has not acknowledged the PGL plan. Assuming they ever consume the plan seriously, would the PGA Tour go for this?

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Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for over a decade, working for NBC Sports, Golf Channel, Yahoo Sports and SB Nation. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He used to be a good golfer.

Ballengee can be reached by email at ryan[at]thegolfnewsnet.com

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