Perception Challenges

Escalada acknowledges that attrition to the Saudi-backed LIV Series, which now includes two of the best Mexican golfers in the world in Carlos Ortiz and Abraham Ancer was sub-optimal. Still, he thinks the competition between the PGA Tour and LIV will ultimately be healthy.

“I’m absolutely convinced that competition is good for everyone. It makes all of us keep on alert and try to improve upon ourselves and be more creative. And you are seeing the changes that the PGA Tour has been implementing, changes that without the appearance of LIV maybe would never have happened,” Escalada says.

One of those changes is the PGA Tour’s decision to create in effect a caste system of tournaments by ‘elevating’ 13 events and ratcheting up their prize pools to at least $20 million with the exemption of Maui’s smaller-field Sentry Tournament of Champions ($15 million).

This certainly has made it more difficult for tournaments not on the list to attract top tour names. But a requirement that players also enter three non-elevated PGA Tour events makes it possible for non-elevated tournaments like the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba to continue to pepper their fields with a bevy of big name stars while making the case for elevation in the future. Aside from Viktor Hovland, attempting to hoist the tournament’s carved iguana trophy for the third straight time, Scottie Scheffler, Collin Morikawa, and Billy Horschel highlight a solid field.

“We have the patience, we have the passion and we have the resources and the interest to make anything that we do to be the best. When that evolution will come up, I’m not sure today, but I’m pretty sure Mayakoba is meant to be one of the biggest tournaments in the industry of golf,” Escalada says.