What’s next?

The world of men’s professional golf looks set to come together again. So, putting what’s happened to one side, what could the future look like?

Having been fractured by LIV Golf and the massive influx of Saudi Arabian money into the game, men’s tour golf looks set to come back together.

The out of the blue announcement, which shocked the golfing world including players, set out plans to combine the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund’s golf entities – including LIV – with the commercial businesses and rights of the PGA Tour and DP World Tour in a new, collectively owned, for-profit entity. This will be led by the PGA Tour, with the PIF supplying the money.

Looking past the upheaval of the last two years – what could the new landscape of men’s professional golf look like, and could something good come from this?

First, there’s little doubt huge sums of money will be flowing into prize funds and players’ bank accounts. We know the PIF will be sponsoring events, and there’s little doubt we’ll see the best players competing in Saudi Arabia.

We also know there will be a mechanism for LIV players to return to tour events, though how that will work is unclear. I would expect to see a watershed moment, after which the players are free to resume playing in events as they wish, earn points and money as they did before, and generally return as if the last two seasons didn’t happen. Whether that should happen or not is for another time.

I also expect to see a clearly defined structure for men’s golf, with the PGA Tour – perhaps even its elevated schedule on top of that – sitting at the summit and all other events and tours feeding into it.

Little is known on how this deal will shape the global calendar. We know the group wants to explore team golf, and that may be the most interesting thing to come from this.

From the limited experience we’ve had so far, the PGA Tour’s elevated events model works for fans. We know the best players in the world are coming together at regular times during the season. Some of the enthusiasm for this has been lost during major season, but I think a defined set of cornerstone events has a place in the calendar.

I’d also like to see a more global schedule, with the top players competing in Europe more often. I hope to see the Scottish Open and BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth gain elevated status as part of this.

The most interesting development could come in the PGA Tour’s off-season. This four-month window could be used to make the team golf concept into something we want to watch. With 12 teams of four players, each led by the leading available player in the world rankings and drafted in sequence from there, you’d have strong fields.

A series of six strokeplay events would then set the team rankings for the finals in December, where the leading eight teams go head-to-head in four singles matches. The excitement of that three-day finals event could be incredible if played on the right course with the very best players.

Having been split apart by LIV, there is a chance that men’s professional golf can come together and give fans what they want – all the best players competing together, a regular season with defined highlights in the elevated events and majors, a clear structure where players can progress to the top, a chance to see the best players compete globally, and an off-season format which is worth investing your time in. Let’s see what happens next…