The much-debated proposal of a Premier Golf League worth £250million is “entirely feasible” and could be in place by the beginning of 2023.
That is according to Andy Gardiner, chief executive of the newly formed PGL, who has outlined plans of an 18-tournament schedule targeting the top 48 male golfers on the planet.
Each tournament would come with a prize fund of $20million, with a whopping $4million to line the winner’s pockets. The player finishing in last position would also take home $150,000, with the finances involved proving too tempting to ignore for some of the world’s best players.
Not for Rory McIlroy, however, with the Northern Irishman labelling the proposals as a “money grab” similar to that of the recently debunked European Super League that united football fans on the continent in uproar.
Just last month, McIlroy spoke of his dislike for the idea, praising the PGA for how golf is currently managed.
“I don't think there's a better structure in place in golf, and I don't think there will be.
"Go back to what happened with the European Super League in football. People can see it for what it is, which is a money grab, which is fine if what you're playing golf for is to make as much money as possible. Totally fine, then go and do that if that's what makes you happy.
"I'm playing this game to try to cement my place in history and my legacy and to win major championships and to win the biggest tournaments in the world."
Gardiner has admitted that talks have taken place with some of the leading players in the sport, with two topics at the forefront of discussions. The players that members of the PGL hierarchy spoke with asked if the tournament purses could be increased to the now approved $20million, and they also wanted reassurances that fears over bans and world ranking points had been addressed.
“I’ve listened to players talk about being banned,” Gardiner claimed. “They are not going to ban the players, I can assure them of that.”
Such positivity appears to have piqued the interest of some golf’s biggest stars, with Bryson DeChambeau hinting that he would be interested in joining the breakaway format.
The US Open champion stopped short of committing to the PGL, but his comments will concern the powers that be at the PGA.
"We just want to go play golf and I would say give the fans the best experience they could possibly have.
"If it's with the Super League then it's with the Super League, but I will never do anything first. I will never be anybody that goes first in something like that. It's got to be the Tour coming together and saying this is better for the fan experience.
“Whatever is best for the players and for the fans is what I would support.”
The backlash from yet more plans for reform in one of the most loved sports around is unlikely to end anytime soon, but as is often the case in most walks of life – money talks. The reported $4million up for grabs for tournament winners in the PGL trumps the highest purse on the PGA tour by over $1million, with the winner of the Players Championship earning $2.7million.
While McIlroy’s stance is a romantic one, you’d have to imagine that those numbers will tempt most of the top players on the tour.
Recent reports have claimed that world number one Dustin Johnson and Olympic champions Justin Rose are two of several high profile players to have been offered around $30million to take part in the new format. If that is to be believed, then it surely won’t be long until this comes to a head.
There remain several hoops to jump through before the PGL dream becomes a reality, but with the backing of some of the biggest names in golf, don’t bet against a 2023 revamp of the sport.