A few days, a few more hours and the Pga Tour season will resume with the turbo with the awaited appointment of the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii and with its monstrous prize pool of 15 million dollars.
Now: if you don’t know it yet, the inaugural 2023 tournament of the US circuit is part of that small number of “Elevated Events” (12) that the Pga Tour has invented starting from this year to have the best players engaged all together in the same tournament at least once a month.
Which brings to a dutiful reflection at the beginning of the year: the future of golf will increasingly go in this direction. Where is it? Towards competitions with smaller fields, but with higher prize pools and with the best all at the start.
The Saudi circuit LIV was the first to understand this: if you want to gain ground (and dollars) in the sports marketing sector, you must first of all look at the viewer and “spoil” the enthusiasts. Therefore, the starting question that both the LIV and the Pga Tour (secondly) asked themselves was: what does the golfer want to see on TV? Obvious: that the great champions play more often in the same events.
And so it was. We will find out over the course of this year whether the road taken by both circuits has been the right one. Meanwhile, the DP World Tour appears to be lagging behind, despite having a more tournament-dense and prize pool-rich 2023 than previous seasons, which, as we know, were plagued by the pandemic.
However, be careful: thanks to the return of the end-of-year Q-School, in 2022 only 117 players were able to keep the European circuit card. Even in Europe, albeit more slowly than in other tours, the idea of having fewer players with guaranteed cards seems to be making headway.
Which will mean putting more pressure on the champions, who will be forced to give their best throughout the year to maintain their playing privileges. Which, in turn, could, in the long run, translate into a better offer for viewers.
We will therefore see how this golfing 2023 will evolve, a year in which certainly the gap in economic possibilities existing between the very champions and the average players is growing brutally and certainly will not stop, quite the contrary.
For example, the death of a very important minor circuit for the growth of young talents such as the EuroPro Tour indicates precisely this: that sponsors are migrating towards the top of the pyramid.