Good morning! Hope you had a great Thanksgiving.
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Yeah, it’s still here
The DP World Tour didn’t exactly get off to an auspicious start in Johannesburg this past weekend. The Joburg Open, the first event of the former European Tour’s 2021-22 schedule, was beset with concerns about the new Omicron variant of Covid-19. As countries around the world restricted travel from South Africa, players rushed to find flights out. The Joburg Open was initially shortened to 54 holes, but more than 20 competitors bowed out immediately. Bad weather further reduced the tournament to 36 holes, leaving South Africa’s Thriston Lawrence as the champion.
Some players are still scrambling to get home. Ben Coley of sportinglife.com has relayed stories of restricted charter flights, incredibly expensive tickets, and difficult decisions facing DP World Tour executives. A lot remains unknown about the Omicron variant, but this much is clear: pro golf tours, especially ones with international schedules, will need to reckon with the pandemic in the months ahead.
The bottom line
Just before Thanksgiving, Golfweek’s Eamon Lynch reported that the PGA Tour sent a memo to its players outlining how hundreds of millions of extra dollars will be distributed in 2022. Some notable changes: the FedEx Cup purse will increase from $60 to $75 million, with $18 million going to the winner; the Player Impact Program will increase from $40 to $50 million; the Comcast Business Tour Top 10 will increase from $10 to $20 million; and many limited-field events will receive larger purses. In short, the PGA Tour’s stars will be compensated more handsomely than ever next year.
While the phrases “Premier Golf League” and “Golf Saudi” did not appear in the memo, they loomed over every word of it. Obviously this is another attempt by the PGA Tour to counter the appeal of potential upstart leagues. What remains to be seen is whether top players will be swayed by a $10-million PIP boost when Greg Norman and LIV Golf Investments are reportedly dangling much larger figures.
One thing we know for sure? The commercial load on PGA Tour telecasts isn’t going down anytime soon.
Brooks Koepka easily defeated Bryson DeChambeau 4&3 in their 12-hole edition of The Match in Las Vegas.
Former top-ranked amateur Takumi Kanaya finished T-4 at the Casio Japan Open over the weekend, moving to No. 54 in the Official World Golf Ranking.
Also via Eamon Lynch: tournament organizers for the PNC Championship are holding a spot just in case Tiger Woods is able to play with his son Charlie next month. Woods lit the internet aflame last weekend when he posted his first swing video after his February car accident.
The Latest from The Fried Egg
ICYMI: The Fried Egg Podcast: Yolk with Doak 31 – The latest installment of our series with architect Tom Doak touches on municipal golf, the Renaissance Cup, and Doak’s design at Apache Stronghold. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.
The Shotgun Start – A long Thanksgiving weekend has derailed the Shotgun Start’s Year in Review episodes, but the boys will be back this week. Catch up on Parts 1 and 2 on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.