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Jordan Spieth: 2024 ‘a big year’ for PGA Tour’s future model

Jordan Spieth is fully aware that the future of the PGA Tour is in a precarious spot. Amid the ongoing negotiations with both Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and a consortium of American sports owners, questions of funding continue to hang over the sport. AT&T, a longtime sponsor of Spieth, is increasing its investment in the tour but longtime tournament sponsors Wells Fargo and Farmers Insurance are walking away from naming rights deals.

 

 

Weeks after LIV Golf peeled away Spanish star Jon Rahm, Spieth said a lot is riding on the second year of the PGA Tour’s “signature events” schedule model. “This is a big year because if we can actually deliver, like I’m saying, a premium product, then I think that that helps verify the investment that these companies are making,” Spieth told Front Office Sports on Friday. “And if not, then we can figure out: What is the best path forward to hold on to these sponsors? … What exactly has to happen to make sure that our long-term sponsors stay committed to the PGA Tour?

 

 

“A lot of it’s going to be dictated by what comes out of these elevated events this season.” Next month’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am will be the second of eight signature events of the season (not counting The Players Championship and the major championships). They feature massive prize purses and more selective qualification standards; five of the eight events will do away with a 36-hole cut.

“You’re going to have a tournament that hopefully looks and feels better than any time you’ve had that tournament before, and that’s the idea to the sponsors,” Spieth said. “So to do that eight times during the season, that would improve our product, create better competition, and honestly, create better stories as we come into the weekend (of tournaments).” Spieth has been loyal to the PGA Tour and recently took a position on the policy board, vacated by Rory McIlroy. He joins Tiger Woods, Patrick Cantlay and others who are trying to forge a path forward for the tour.

The three-time major champ said he will have an eye on the TV ratings of signature events, coupled with feedback from sponsors about whether they felt that they got their money’s worth. “Those ratings help the sponsors with their advertising dollars that are oftentimes more of what they’re thinking about in their investment than exactly what’s happening at the golf course,” Spieth said.

“… If it’s not exactly what someone likes, then I think, as players, and our management, we should be open to having these conversations and just make sure that our product model going forward is going to be what everyone else wants.”

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