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Lone dissenter to PGA Tour’s modifications airs grievances

Lone dissenter to PGA Tour’s modifications airs grievances

James Hahn was the lone PGA Tour Coverage Board member to vote towards the construction modifications.

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After the PGA Tour introduced wholesale modifications to its schedule and construction for subsequent season, even apparently successful again the dedication of rising star Cameron Younger within the course of, James Hahn nonetheless doesn’t appear to be content material.

Hahn instructed Golfweek he forged the one dissenting vote on the modifications as a voting member of the PGA Tour’s Coverage Board. That’s regardless of saying he’s not completely dissatisfied with the outcomes.

“All of us need the identical factor, what’s greatest for the Tour, however we have now completely different concepts on easy methods to get there,” he mentioned. “Proper now, it looks like they’re catering to the highest gamers on the planet.”

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The Tour introduced a brand new construction for subsequent season forward of final week’s Tour Championship, the place the highest gamers, as outlined by a reimagined Participant Affect Program, have all dedicated to a 20-event schedule. Twelve of these occasions being the PGA Tour’s ‘elevated occasions,’ that includes purses between $15 and $25 million.

That is all coming because the PGA Tour faces a rival league, LIV Golf, which performs occasions with $25 million purses and has lured away prime names reminiscent of Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka with assured contracts. LIV Golf is backed by the Saudi Arabian authorities’s Public Funding Fund.

Hahn, a two-time Tour winner who mentioned he has not been approached by LIV Golf, mentioned modifications have been made to immediately compete with LIV Golf, and never essentially enhance the PGA Tour.

“To stop extra gamers from leaving our Tour, we’re ending up paying the highest gamers on the planet assured cash that has elevated exponentially,” Hahn mentioned. “Three years in the past, we began implementing this new PIP program, which has grown to $100 million. It looks like the individuals who have probably the most affect of how a lot cash is distributed to the highest gamers on the planet have a a lot stronger voice now than they’ve ever had.

“I perceive the reasoning that the cash is used to maintain prime gamers and with out them, we have now no Tour. My query to them is when is it sufficient? We’ve gone from $50 million to $100 million. When $100 million isn’t sufficient, will they ask for $200 million? How will that impression our enterprise?”

He additionally mentioned he felt the modifications might have come sooner.

“It’s loopy to assume that it took a secret assembly between Tiger, Rory and the most effective gamers on the planet to make a change so quick that might have been made a yr or two in the past,” Hahn mentioned. “I used to be speaking to Bryson [DeChambeau] earlier than he left the Tour. That’s what he needed. He needed the highest gamers in a room and have a dialog on what they carry to the Tour and the way can they be compensated for it. Due to the individual that Bryson is, I don’t assume he bought the respect of his friends to carry collectively these gamers.”

Earlier than the BMW Championship in mid-August, a reported 20 of the Tour’s prime gamers, plus Rickie Fowler and Tiger Woods held a players-only assembly to debate what would finally develop into the modifications introduced by commissioner Jay Monahan final week. Woods and Rory McIlroy reportedly spearheaded the assembly. Hahn was not current.

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Whilst a member of the Coverage Board as a participant director, whose time period involves an finish originally of subsequent yr, Hahn mentioned it was hypocritical how the Tour is now requiring gamers to play 20 occasions for big purses, just like how LIV would require it’s contracted gamers to play 14 occasions subsequent season.

“It’s fascinating how issues have switched,” he mentioned. “Purses growing to $20 million isn’t sufficient — [LIV Golfers] wanted assured cash to surrender their freedom. It feels very hypocritical and it might cannibalize the remainder of the season and make the opposite tournaments really feel like second-class occasions. By asking the most effective gamers to play extra and basically the identical schedule they’re going to find yourself taking the identical week off. Are they going to play the Honda Basic with its $8-million purse or the $20 million purses that encompass it? I concern we might find yourself just like the ATP (the professional tennis tour) the place solely a handful of occasions draw actual curiosity. These are a few of the issues we needed to assume by earlier than we voted.”

The brand new construction additionally requires all exempt gamers to be given a $500k “league-minimum” wage, which shall be held towards their winnings. Non-exempted gamers will even be given a $5,000 stipend after they miss a minimize to assist cowl bills.

When the unique PGA Tour schedule for 2022-23 was launched earlier in August, Hahn put it on blast, writing on Twitter how the schedule’s journey calls for will price 1000’s of {dollars} and plenty of time.

Hahn didn’t appear to assume the brand new construction did sufficient to care for the journeymen professionals, like himself who completed 107th within the FedEx Cup standings.

“We’re worthwhile to the Tour – not as worthwhile – and we’re looking for a center floor of how a lot assured cash we must always pay the highest gamers versus distributing the cash in purses among the many remainder of the membership,” he mentioned. “The key assembly with Tiger and Rory set a precedent that the highest 20 gamers can get no matter they need from the Tour. So, what’s stopping the opposite 90 p.c of our Tour from getting collectively and doing the identical actual factor as Rory and Tiger and saying the highest 20 gamers can go play their very own tournaments however the remainder of the Tour, us 90 p.c all stand collectively and we wish extra advantages?

“I really feel like a portion of the $100 million might have gone to creating our Tour nice somewhat than going to the highest 20. These are the little issues that irritate the remainder of the membership to the purpose there’s a variety of animosity between the haves and have-nots.”

He instructed Golfweek he’s motivated for the upcoming season as a result of if he performs properly, the rewards shall be extra fruitful below the brand new system. Nonetheless, if he performs poorly, will probably be more durable for him to maintain his job.

“Everybody has their legacy – it’s not as nice as Rory or Tiger – however I need mine to stay on the PGA Tour,” he mentioned.

Jack Hirsh

Golf.com Editor

Jack Hirsh is an assistant editor at GOLF. A Pennsylvania native, Jack is 2020 graduate of Penn State College, incomes levels in broadcast journalism and political science. He was captain of his highschool golf crew and nonetheless *tries* to stay aggressive in native amateurs. Earlier than becoming a member of GOLF, Jack spent two years working at a TV station in Bend, Oregon, primarily as Multimedia Journalist/reporter, but additionally producing, anchoring and even presenting the climate. He may be reached at [email protected]