'I See A Lot Of Greed' - Hal Sutton Questions Direction Of PGA Tour

The 14-time PGA Tour winner is concerned about the growing influence of money in the game

Hal Sutton of the United States looks on during the 2016 Ryder Cup Captains Matches
Hal Sutton is concerned about the direction of the PGA Tour
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Hal Sutton has questioned the direction of the PGA Tour, suggesting it is becoming too money oriented.

The 14-time PGA Tour winner expressed his concerns on The Golf Channel’s Golf Today show, where he told Damon Hack and Eamon Lynch: “I see a lot of greed to be honest with you. You know, I wore out two hips and a left knee walking to the model of charity is the biggest winner every week, and I pray that the PGA Tour does not lose that.“

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The 65-year-old turned professional in 1981 and two years later won the PGA Championship. Also in 1983, the American won The Players Championship, and those achievements helped him become that year’s leading money winner on the PGA Tour with $426,668. Even if adjusted for inflation, though, the figure would be far less than today’s top players earn.

However, the 2004 Team USA Ryder Cup captain insisted he had motivations for playing the game beyond financial rewards. He continued: “I was proud to be part of that. I was proud that we weren’t trying to get every dollar we could possibly get, but it feels that way now.

“I could never imagine saying that I don’t love golf, I only play because I’m good at it. I could never imagine saying that.”

Sutton’s comments come during a turbulent period for the game following the emergence of LIV Golf and the huge influx of money into it from the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF). While the PGA Tour had been a bitter rival of the start-up, its motivations have been questioned in recent months following its shock merger with the PIF.

An example of the significant shift in financial rewards available to players on the PGA Tour can be found in the purse on offer this week’s FedEx St. Jude Championship.

As one of the PGA Tour’s designated events, a total prize fund of $20m is available, with $3.6m going to the winner. In contrast, the 2022 tournament had a $15m purse, of which winner Tony Finau was awarded $2.7m.

That’s just the latest of several designated events on the PGA Tour offering the same purse this year, while the partnership with the PIF is only likely to see further cash injections in the future. 

Sutton, who last played on the PGA Tour Champions in 2019, admitted that the game is becoming unrecognisable from the one of his prime. He said: “It’s just a different world. Like I said a second ago, I’m not sure I know golf anymore.”

Mike Hall

Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories. 

He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game. 

Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course. 

Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.