New year, new perspectives for the PGA Tour. The season has already technically started after last year’s Tour Championship, but 2023 will immediately offer endless arguments already from the Sentry Tournament of Champions.
What can we expect from the American circuit this year? Rory McIlroy, world number 1 and Player Director on the tour’s Policy Board, is clear: “We’ve all made a commitment to get together more often to make the product more compelling.”
Rory McIlroy, situation
All this also due to a scheduling of tournaments which, also due to the increase in prize money and new initiatives, will give more prestige to several weekends, as well as confirming the joint venture with the DP World Tour which mainly concerns the Scottish Open.
To put it again in the words of the Northern Irishman, “when I watch a Tampa Bay Buccaneers game, I expect to see Tom Brady on the field“. For the first 30 of the FedEx Cup there will be an important recognition: two years of exemption to play on the PGA Tour without any risk: previously this was only recognized to those who won tournaments.
And speaking of the FedEx Cup playoffs, there will be an important change: there will no longer be 125, but 70 players who will be able to qualify for the tournament series that begins with the FedEx St. Jude Championship. Consequently, the BMW Championship will be 50 and, as mentioned, the Tour Championship with the first 30 mentioned will remain so, as per tradition.
This is the last season of the PGA Tour divided over two years: from 2024, in fact, we will return to a calendar based on a single year, while players who failed to enter the FedEx Cup playoffs will try to play their chances for the coming year through a new Fall Series to be unveiled early in 2023.
Also, this year Q School will return to awarding cards for the PGA Tour, specifically for the top five; for the others the status will be players of the Korn Ferry Tour, which with its Finals keeps its 30 cards available for the upper floor.
On the fields the arguments will be many. The first obviously concerns McIlroy: will he defend the FedEx Cup or complete the Career Grand Slam? He is now only missing the Masters, which he came close to in 2022. The only way to find out is to check if the form shown last year will also be present in this one.
However, there will be many men ready to contend for the scepter. It starts clearly from Scottie Scheffler, after a start to the year that seemed to project him to number 1 for a long time, he had a decline and had to bow to McIlroy, but the duel for world leadership only seems to have stalled before restarting better than ever.
For now the others are far away, but the year can reserve several reversals in the face. Tiger Woods: inevitable to think of him as a potential protagonist. He will no longer be the omnipresent man, but if there is one goal he has, it is the Open Championship in Liverpool, where he won in 2006.
And then there are the feelings of Justin Thomas, who would like to win again more than once this season, Will Zalaris’ return from a back injury, but also the signals already launched last year by Jon Rahm, Jordan Spieth’s intention to also do the Career Grand Slam at the PGA Championship in Oak Hill.