A proposed World Golf Series would feature between 15-20 events per year, with each carrying a $20 million purse, multiple sources have confirmed to Reuters.
The biggest purse being offered on the PGA Tour this year thus far is $11 million, which was awarded at both the Masters and Players Championship.
The British-based World Golf Group has had this in the planning stages for more than a year, It is aiming for 15-to-20 tournaments around the world annually, each offering a purse of close to $20 million, according to sources familiar with the plans.
Organizers were reluctant to release specific names of sponsors or players, but it is believed the big-name, big-money sponsors will come if the big names step up first.
“It would not be appropriate to make a comment at this time,” the World Golf Group, whose Chief Commercial Officer is Richard Marsh, said in an email to Reuters.
The PGA Tour would likely oppose the start up, given the obvious conflicts over top talent. Another hurdle would be getting sanctioned by the Official World Golf Ranking organization so that players could earn ranking points. Among the OWGR founding members are the PGA Tour, Augusta National, the USGA and R&A.
None of those groups have a history or reputation of embracing immediate and radical change.
At least one “leading player” told Reuters multiple pros are aware of the plan.
“Why would you not be interested — 18 tournaments for $20 million?” the player, speaking on condition of anonymity, said.
But the OWGR is playing a larger role than ever before in player contracts.
“Every player’s deal is centered around world ranking points,” leading British agent Andrew ‘Chubby’ Chandler, who is aware of the proposed World Golf Series, told Reuters.
“This series will never get world ranking points, so it will cost people money in the end. I think there are a lot of obstacles to get over.
“The cards are stacked against them if they don’t get six of the world’s top 10 players to sign up.”
Then-number one Greg Norman proposed a similar series during the 1990s. The PGA Tour got tough and Norman’s plan faded away.