The PGA Tour will kick off its 2024 season on May 5 (Korea time). The opening game will be The Sentry (20 million U.S. dollars in total prize money) that will be held for four days from May 5 at the Plantation Course (par 73) in Capalua, Hawaii. The PGA Tour will take the lead of holding 36 competitions every week from this competition to the Tour Championship, which ends on September 2.
The PGA Tour is facing an important inflection point this year. The season, which started and ended in September, has been changed to a single-year system that starts in January and ends in September from this year. Autumn series competitions will be held even after the Tour Championship, the final game of this season, but it is only a revival of losers among players who have not secured a stable position in the next season.
The season has shortened, but the players’ pockets get thicker. The special competition, which has total prize money of 20 million dollars, is a big one, but this year it is a money party without a cut. It is similar to LIV Golf (a new tour sponsored by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund), in which 48 players participate and divide 20 million dollars without a cut. If huge structural changes including the merger of the PGA Tour and LIV Golf become reality before April, the PGA Tour is expected to face another major change. The game is also expected to change due to the transfer of world No. 3 Jon Rahm of Spain to LIV Golf and the growth of new players.
Scottie Scheffler (U.S.) and Rory McIlroy (Northern Ireland) will continue to be strong, but Viktor Hovlan (Norway) and Ludvig Overy (Sweden) will also seek the top spot. The news of South Korean players’ wins, including Kim Joo-hyung, Im Sung-jae, Kim Si-woo, Ahn Byung-hoon, Lee Kyung-hoon and Kim Sung-hyun (in the order of world rankings), is expected to continue this year.
Kim Joo-hyung, who is about to enter the world’s 10th girl rankings, set another goal of winning a medal at the Paris Olympics. Im Sung-jae and Kim Si-woo, who eased the burden of military service by winning the Asian Games gold medal, are also expected to be hotter than last year.
Ahn Byung-hoon, who has made up for his weaknesses in green play, is also expected to make a leap forward. Lee Kyung-hoon and Kim Sung-hyun try to overcome their sluggish performances. Kim Joo-hyung, Im Sung-jae, Kim Si-woo and Ahn Byung-hoon will participate in the opening match, The Sentry, which is a special competition designated by the public.
The Sentry was originally a “king of kings” competition, in which only the winners of the previous year’s Tournament could participate. However, since there were so few players participating, the event expanded its scope to allow players to join if they rank within top 50 in the FedEx Cup from this year onwards, even if they fail to win the title in the previous season. It is one of the special competitions where there is no cut and 3.6 million U.S. dollars is given to the winner.
This year’s event will feature 59 players, including 34 winners of the tour and 24 players who failed to win the title but finished the season ranking within 50th in the FedEx Cup. The fact that four Korean players participate in this competition, which is not easy to qualify, shows Korea’s status in the PGA tour. Kim Joo-hyung and Kim Si-woo are eligible to win last year’s tour competition, while Im Sung-jae and Ahn Byung-hoon are eligible to rank within 50th in the FedEx Cup.
It is not easy to predict the outcome of the championship, as eight players who are ranked within the top 10 in the world will participate in the championship. PGA Tour 디ᅀᆺᄏᅀᅵᆷ named Kim Joo-hyung as the fifth favorite after Collin Morikawa, Scheffler, Max Homa, and Xander Schauffley (U.S.). Kim displayed impressive performance at the event for the first time last year, tying for fifth in overall score. He played fewer pars than any other player, from tee to green, and had the best score at five par. PGA Tour 디ᅀᆺᄏᅀᅵᆷ expressed high expectations, saying, “Kim has now grasped the green.”
It is regrettable that defending champion Lam will not participate because he moved to LIV Golf, and world No. 2 McIlroy skipped the tournament following last year.