The PGA Tour has assigned elevated status to several tour events, which will now be called “Designated Events.” The RBC Heritage is one of them.

There are 17 events, including the four majors, will feature an increased purse, and the top 20 players have agreed to play in all but one of them.

Purses for most of these events have increased dramatically to $20 million, with the Players Tournament offering a purse of $25 million. The majors have a purse that will be higher and have yet to be announced. 

These changes were made so that the top players would compete more often against one another.  Tournaments designated for 2023 might not be guaranteed that status in 2024. Many people feel that there should be a rotation of the designated events. Time will tell.

Players who finished in the top 20 in 2022 are required to play in all but one of these designated events. Bringing these top players together for these events is a huge win for the fans and corporate sponsors.  

The RBC Heritage will be held the week after the Masters, and the proximity of Augusta to Hilton Head Island makes for a great stop for the top players to attend. Speculation is that the Heritage will be a no-cut event in 2024 with a reduced field of 80 players.  If this happens, you will be able to see your favorite players for all four days.

Last year’s Heritage purse was $8 million and the winner, Jordan Spieth, won $1.44 million.  This year the purse is $20 million, and the winner’s share is $ 3.6 million.  

When Steve Wilmont, longtime tournament director, was told about the tournament being a designated event his response was, “I’m like a kid in a candy store… It’s a true compliment to our community and tournament.”  

The tournament will now get many of the top players such as Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Scottie Scheffler, who in the past might have skipped this event after the Masters. 

Obviously, these changes are great for the designated sites. However, it could hurt the events that might be sandwiched between them. For example, last month’s Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens had only one top player, No. 18 Sungjae Im, playing in the event. 

The purse was $ 8.4 million and the winner, Chris Kirk won $1.5 million. However, the winner is now rewarded to participate in future designated events.

The following week the Arnold Palmer Classic, a designated event, had a $20 million purse and the winner Kurt Kitayama got his first PGA tour win and received $3.6 million. It was great to see him beat the “chosen ones” Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth.  Again, the key is “win and you are rewarded.”  

Many people believe that these changes to the PGA tournaments, getting the best players together more often, was due because of the pressure the LIV Golf Tour was putting on the PGA. LIV golfers have guaranteed purses and are no-cut events. The purse is usually $20 million and the winner earns $4 million. This is similar to what the PGA has come up with.

No matter the reason, the new designated PGA events will enable the fans to see the top players competing against each other more often.

Dr. Jean Harris is an LPGA Master Professional and teaches at local golf courses.;