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In an exclusive with Golfweek (opens in new tab), James Hahn, who is one of four player directors on the Tour’s nine-voting member Policy Board, has given his views on the PGA Tour's recent drastic measures to combat the threat of the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series.
The American, who was the only player to cast a dissenting vote on the changes, had a lot to say to Golfweek, as Hahn stated: "Certain changes were made to combat the LIV Tour, not necessarily make our Tour any better."
Speaking in a phone interview, the two-time PGA Tour winner explained that: “To prevent more players from leaving our Tour, we are ending up paying the top players in the world guaranteed money that has increased exponentially. Three years ago, we started implementing this new PIP program, which has grown to $100 million.
"It seems like the people who have the most influence of how much money is distributed to the top players in the world have a much stronger voice now than they’ve ever had. I understand the reasoning that the money is used to keep top players and without them, we have no Tour. My question to them is when is it enough? We’ve gone from $50 million to $100 million. When $100 million isn’t enough, will they ask for $200 million? How will that impact our business?”
Within the interview, Hahn went in-depth about a number of factors surrounding the recent changes made by the PGA Tour. However, as a player director during the time of the rise of LIV Golf, Hahn stated that, given the unique circumstances the PGA Tour faced, he is not disappointed that he wasn’t able to do more.
“I understand the No. 1 priority has been to keep our top players,” explained Hahn, who finished just outside the top 100 of the FedEx Cup standings. “We’ve lost DJ, Koepka, Bryson, Reed and others. That’s been the No. 1 priority. It takes up all the discussion away from other things that compared to that is meaningless.
"The thought process has been if we don’t focus all of our attention and throw as much as we can against the LIV Tour to keep our players, a year from now, we might not have a Tour to play on. That’s been the overall theme in these meetings and that’s why we pushed everything else to the backburner.”
According to Hahn, one player, who has gone to LIV Golf, wanted the top players to meet and have a conversation surrounding the PGA Tour. The 40-year-old stated: “It’s crazy to think that it took a secret meeting between Tiger, Rory and the best players in the world to make a change so fast that could have been made a year or two ago.
"I was talking to Bryson (DeChambeau) before he left the Tour. That’s what he wanted. He wanted the top players in a room and have a conversation on what they bring to the Tour and how can they be compensated for it. Because of the person that Bryson is, I don’t think he got the respect of his peers to bring together those players.”
Matt studied Sports Journalism at Southampton Solent University, graduating in 2019. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly and the PGA, he covers all aspects of the game, from Tour news to equipment testing and buyers’ guides. Taking up the game at the age of six, Matt currently holds a handicap of 3 and despite not having a hole in one…yet, he has had two albatrosses. His favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.
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