Tiger Woods focused on pushing PGA Tour product forward ahead of return at 2023 Genesis Invitational

Tiger Woods has only played nine competitive rounds on the PGA Tour over the past year, and that number will rise this week as he enters the 2023 Genesis Invitational, his first start since The Open at St. Andrews. While Woods’ presence was missed on the golf course, it was felt in full behind closed doors as the PGA Tour focused its efforts on an updated game schedule for the 2022-23 season.

Having spearheaded a move to bring together the world’s best players more regularly in the same tournaments, Woods has become something of a pseudo-commissioner for his time away from the golf course. As the creation of the 13 designated events is still fresh and details still need to be confirmed for the future, Woods understands the importance of further promoting the PGA Tour product.

“We need to keep going like this [the designated events] and you have to stay in tune and keep progressing and doing it better. We need to produce the best product that we can sell to all viewers,” said Woods. “There are so many different distractions right now, so many different options that you have right now, so it’s about us building a better product, so we have more attention, more stars, people want to go out and either watch a game of golf, either to participate, either on social media or on various streaming platforms. Just the fact that they can watch our sport, so for that we have to create a better product, and that’s what we’re trying to do.”

There have been only two events on the PGA Tour so far this year, with the third taking place this week at the Riviera Country Club. Reaction to the first two tournaments was nothing short of positive, with the likes of Collin Morikawa, John Rahm and Scotty Sheffler arguing until the end of Sunday.

The stars have been taken care of, but what about up-and-coming young players like rookies Taylor Montgomery and Davis Thompson? Both have had to rely on sponsorship invitations to gain access to the WM Phoenix Open 2023, and Woods understands that in order to create the big names of tomorrow, a more efficient channel for certain events is needed.

“We have a lot of the best players coming together since the Delaware meeting and we are trying to create that atmosphere across the board and understand that players need to be able to access and be able to play at these lofty events. and how we do it,” Woods said. “We want to create the next stars. I was lucky enough to get a sponsorship exemption here at 16. So is it possible in this new model? We need to create those opportunities. I look back, I’m lucky and I was able to play in this event, Byron Nelson asked me to play in his event, Arnold [Palmer] asked me to play in his tournament, so I got the opportunity at the very beginning of my career. We don’t want the next stars to not have those opportunities.”

The concept of scheduled activities is only half a year. Change is inevitable as additional players contribute and the PGA Tour begins to understand what works and what doesn’t. The path ahead will evolve, and even Woods doesn’t know with 100% certainty what it might look like.

“We’re in the process of figuring this all out, and it’s been a lot of different models, different opinions, trying to figure out which product and competitive landscape is the best and what we should be doing going forward,” Woods said. “Yes, the fields are limited, how many? Cuts? Yes or no. How many, where are we going? How many players are playing in the event? OK, what is the opportunity to get into the scheduled events? [Monahan] able to sell our product to all different sponsors across the board? There is so much to give and take. It’s still going on.”


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