For the last 45 years, the biggest thing that the PGA Tour and the PGA of America had in common were their initials. While the two come together once a year for the PGA Championship has always been something of a marriage held together due to the event’s major championship status, the new initiatives announced by Tour commissioner Tim Finchem and PGA President Ted Bishop can only be a good thing for the game of golf.
First, the major announcement for golf fans is that the PGA Championship purse will be raised from $8 million to $10 million. While the additional money is always nice, it also makes the purse of the PGA Championship equal to that of the PLAYERS Championship, the biggest tournament run by the Tour itself.
Not only will Tour players have a bigger prize to shoot for in the “forgotten major”, but the increase will also trickle down to the 20 or so PGA professionals who earn spots in the major through their own national championship tournament. While the touring pros will continue to be the big finishers, the increased prestige can only be good for these pros.
Then there’s the ubiquitous “growth of the game” goal that’s always part of any discussion about rules and organizational shifts. Under the new agreement, PGA professionals – the unsung club pros who spend their days selling their instructional services and generally doing everything that keeps the kind of golf you and I know going – will be attending Tour events, giving short instructional clinics and generally being good ambassadors for the game as a whole.
Moving forward, this participation arrangement elevates both organizations, especially by more closely connecting the PGA of America to the Tour for the first time since 1969. The more exposure kids get to golf, the better.