Jack Nicklaus Voices Concern Over ‘Two Tier’ PGA Tour

The 18-time Major winner thinks the elevated status of some competitions could skew the Tour too heavily in their favour

Jack Nicklaus after hitting a ceremonial tee shot at the 2022 Constellation Furyk and Friends
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Jack Nicklaus has expressed concern that the extra money available for certain events could create a two-tier PGA Tour. 

The PGA Tour has introduced purses of at least $20m in 12 events for the 2022/23 season as it attempts to counter the LIV Golf threat. However, speaking at Timuquana Country Club, where he hit a ceremonial opening tee shot at the Constellation Furyk & Friends, Nicklaus said he thinks PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan “has a little work to do to figure out how to make it work”. 

He then elaborated on his concerns, saying: “I’m not sure what to make of it yet. I think the Tour was going to get there, but the LIV thing pushed them. That’s pretty obvious. What it’s done is made the PGA Tour almost two tiers. All of a sudden the other tournaments become feeders.”

One of the beneficiaries of the extra money will be Nicklaus’ own Memorial Tournament, whose purse will increase from $12m to $20m, but another tournament he has close ties with, the Honda Classic, will have a significantly smaller $8.4m purse.

Nevertheless, Nicklaus is confident that, in time, its status will be improved by a move in the schedule away from the its current February slot close to the Genesis Invitational, Arnold Palmer Invitational and Players Championship. He said: "It's been in a tough spot for the last four to five years sitting there between LA and Bay Hill. I think they'd like to get out of that spot. Since we're beneficiaries, I've had some reasonable talk with Jay about it. I've got a few ideas we're exploring. We're trying to figure out a way to move the date and make it more significant.”

While Nicklaus clearly thinks the PGA Tour has some issues as its changes come into effect, he's unlikely to switch allegiance. In May he revealed he'd turned down an offer of more than $100m to join LIV Golf. Meanwhile, he's unfazed about the money today's players can make. He said: “It’s amazing. The golfers of today are blessed by what they do and the money they can raise and play for. It’s unbelievable. But you look at the other sports, and they’re doing the same thing.”

Mike Hall
News Writer

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.