Jordan Spieth Admits PGA Tour Changes Wouldn't Have Happened Without LIV

Jordan Spieth says he "would be lying" if he denied the advent of LIV Golf wasn't behind the new PGA Tour changes

Jordan Spieth holds his finish on a drive
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Jordan Spieth joined Rory McIlroy in admitting that the introduction of LIV Golf has prompted the raft of changes to the PGA Tour framework recently.

McIlroy admitted that LIV Golf had exploited some weaknesses in the PGA Tour after plans were revealed for their designated events to become smaller fields with no cut – just as LIV Golf events are throughout their competition.

Those on the LIV Golf side of the argument have been quick to jump on these changes and label them as a copycat move - with the likes of Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter now looking for some backtracking in the media.

A lack of cut and a closed-off field were two LIV Golf principals that came in for criticism when Greg Norman set up his new Saudi-backed venture, and now LIV supporters are revelling in the fact the PGA Tour are going a similar way.

And although McIlroy insisted the PGA Tour version would still be based on a meritocracy and not having the field closed-off like LIV Golf, Spieth has admitted that the new threat raised by the new golf disruptors has forced through these changes.

“I would be lying if I said that we would have gone through this without LIV,” Spieth said after his first round at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. “But at the same time, we haven't mentioned them in any of our discussions on what we think's best for the Tour.

“So there was a few things, obviously, like the Player Impact Program, stuff that the Tour was doing to try and make sure they could hold their best assets, or best players, whatever you want to call it, and then from there, it was, all right, everyone in this room's committed. Let's figure out what this future product model should look like.

“Then the Tour's been all ears. It's been a player-friendly player-organized situation. So it's been honestly pretty fun to be a part of. I hope that we can kick it off the right way and don't have to make too many adjustments to it because that's the main thing now is trying to get it as close to right the first time as possible.”

Spieth also echoed McIlroy in stating that the PGA Tour changes still place an emphasis on that meritocracy, and players being able to play their way in, or out, of the designated events during the season.

“Some of the veterans in there, guys like Tiger and even Rory, saying, hey, this is a meritocracy, and we need to keep it the way that. Stuff where when you play well you get rewarded, and you don't if you don't, keeping it that way, to an extent. 

“I think we've found a pretty good balance right now in holding on to that history of it, but also making modern adjustments that I think, in my opinion, reward appropriately to the guys who beat the best in the world week-in and week-out.

“Honestly, it's just about a commitment from the top guys. The whole point is trying to get the best players in the world playing as often as possible on the PGA Tour in the same events. And I think this scenario is a really good one and I think pretty close to the final of it with just a few kinks to get out.”

Paul Higham

Paul Higham is a sports journalist with over 20 years of experience in covering most major sporting events for both Sky Sports and BBC Sport. He is currently freelance and covers the golf majors on the BBC Sport website.  Highlights over the years include covering that epic Monday finish in the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor and watching Rory McIlroy produce one of the most dominant Major wins at the 2011 US Open at Congressional. He also writes betting previews and still feels strangely proud of backing Danny Willett when he won the Masters in 2016 - Willett also praised his putting stroke during a media event before the Open at Hoylake. Favourite interviews he's conducted have been with McIlroy, Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjorn, Rickie Fowler and the enigma that is Victor Dubuisson. A big fan of watching any golf from any tour, sadly he spends more time writing about golf than playing these days with two young children, and as a big fair weather golfer claims playing in shorts is worth at least five shots. Being from Liverpool he loves the likes of Hoylake, Birkdale and the stretch of tracks along England's Golf Coast, but would say his favourite courses played are Kingsbarns and Portrush.