'It’s amazing growth'
Korn Ferry Tour players react to the announcement that purses are set to increase in 2022, 2023
May 04, 2021
By Nick Parker, PGATOUR.COM
- May 04, 2021
- Scott Langley serves as the Korn Ferry Tour Player Advisory Council Chairman. (Ben Jared/PGA TOUR)
Look at a PGA TOUR leaderboard these days after any given round and it often reads like a Korn Ferry Tour alumni list. Therefore, it came as no surprise to 2021 Korn Ferry Tour Player Advisory Council (PAC) Chairman Scott Langley that the PGA TOUR has decided to reward that success by investing heavily in the Korn Ferry Tour, announcing an increase in the minimum purses for all Korn Ferry Tour events to $1 million from $600,000 by the 2023 season.
“My perspective, having played both the PGA TOUR and the Korn Ferry Tour, is that the reality these days is that there are more than 150 or 200 really amazing golfers in the world,” Langley said. “There are bound to be a lot of PGA TOUR-caliber players on this tour, and I think the purse increase is really good because it reflects that.”
Jared Wolfe, who already has two Korn Ferry Tour wins this season, hopes he won’t be around to enjoy the increased money but remains elated over the news for his peers and what it means for the Tour.
“I think it’s great that they’re making the investment into the players on this Tour because they do know that these are going to be the guys that are going to be moving the needle and shaping the TOUR on the PGA TOUR in the coming years,” Wolfe said. “Just look at Will Zalatoris this year and the things that he’s done, and you’re going to have a few three-time winner promotions I think this year hopefully including myself. To be able to see that type of talent coming out and seeing the TOUR putting that kind of investment into it is great.”
For Langley, the purse increases, which were originally approved by the Policy Board at the March 2020 meeting and were originally slated for the 2021 season but were delayed a year due to expenses from the COVID-19 pandemic, are not just an acknowledgement of the strength of Korn Ferry Tour but also further evidence of Commissioner Jay Monahan’s support of both Korn Ferry Tour President Alex Baldwin’s vision and also the Korn Ferry Tour players. The former 2010 NCAA Individual Champion also thinks they will make the Korn Ferry Tour even more appealing for not just college stars trying to decide where to turn professional but also international pros with PGA TOUR dreams.
“I don’t think you can change the fact that it’ll always be looked at as the pathway and not as the destination, but I certainly think these purse increases will elevate how everyone looks at the Korn Ferry Tour, not just in professional golf in our country, but around the world,” Langley said. “I think it’ll be a tour where guys want to come and play a little bit more and hopefully try to get to the PGA TOUR through our path over here. It’s great. The players are all going to be super excited, and I just applaud the TOUR for making the investment in the future of our game and the future of the PGA TOUR product by starting at the grassroots with the Korn Ferry Tour.”
As for where the purse increases will be felt most for current Korn Ferry Tour players, the opinions from players differ. Langley thinks the additional money will benefit most the players outside of the top 25 who are returning to the Korn Ferry Tour and will allow the younger players coming out to “invest a little more into their own product and their own game and be that much more set up to have success on the PGA TOUR because they’re coming into the TOUR from a little bit better financial position.” Wolfe, who is 33 and has a wife and baby girl at home, agrees that it will benefit everyone but was most pumped for the players like himself with families back home to support.
“These purse increases are going to help a lot of guys especially ones with young families. The majority of guys out here are in their mid-20s, young 20s or early 30s, and being able to play for that kind of money is going to help us week to week,” Wolfe said. “If you’re not winning, you’ll be making enough to start to support a family. On top of that, the purses are starting to reflect the talent, and the talent out here is just getting stronger and stronger. Since 2014 when I was out here, the guys have just gotten better and better and they’ve proven it when they go to the PGA TOUR the next year with how good they’ve played.”
Since the Korn Ferry Tour was founded in 1990, growth has been the central theme of the tour, with the purses and the quality of the players seemingly growing in tandem. From $100,000 purses in 1990 to $1,000,000 in 2023.
“The numbers speak for themselves,” Langley said. “It’s amazing growth. It’s a great sign of the health of our entire ecosystem, in general, from the top down. It’s a continuation of the great momentum that golf has on the professional level right now. It’s a staggering increase.”
Just like the meteoric rise of a lot of its members.