Is There A New Backer for PGA Tour That Counters LIV Interests?

PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan, 2023 TOUR Championship,John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan, 2023 TOUR Championship,John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports /

Bloomberg News reported today that the PGA Tour potentially has been approached by “outside investors” to “ease political opposition” to the proposed PGA Tour LIV Golf deal that is now in the works.

A spokesperson for the PGA Tour said that the Tour had been approached by unsolicited “investors” that might change the nature of the PIF/LIV/PGA Tour deal. The reason given for exploring the investors’ interest in the PGA Tour was “politicians who have voiced concerns that the deal would amount to a takeover of a US institution by LIV Golf.”

However, what was very new about the Bloomberg report was a statement of how the NewCo ( New Company) would work within the framework of the PGA Tour, which has 45 separate entities registered with the state of Florida.

According to the story, the PIF investment would be made via PGA Tour Enterprises, a subsidiary of the PGA Tour. The PGA Tour would then control the PIF-invested entity through board representation.  Tiger Woods recently joined the Players Advisory Council of the PGA Tour which votes on changes to the organization along with other PGA Tour players and executives from the business world and from golf organizations.

On June 6th, PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan and PIF governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan, who is also chairman of state-owned petroleum company, Saudi Aramco, appeared on CNBC’s Squawk on The Street in an interview with David Faber to announce that they had agreed to create a new company including the PGA Tour and PIF (Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia).

While details were sketchy at the time, both sides had definitely agreed to drop all lawsuits that were in the courts. They would then work toward forming a new company which would determine how the two entities would work together. Terms of the agreement have a deadline of December 31st of this year. No one knows if there would be extensions allowed to conclude it.

It was said then that the PGA Tour would have control over the new entity, but the framework was not detailed at the time.

Since then, Monahan took a month off due to health problems, but returned ready to conclude the negotiations.

In the interim, several PGA Tour executives appeared before Congress to testify about what the planned joining of forces would mean to the PGA Tour and to golf in other locations, such as the DP World Tour.

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The PGA Tour and the DP World Tour had already been in the process of creating a working relationship between the two entities that had not been completed when the announcement about the joining of forces between the PGA Tour and the PIF was made.

According to Bloomberg, the PGA Tour emailed them a statement saying:

“Throughout 2023, the PGA Tour has demonstrated its strength, reach and value as an enterprise…. Our focus continues to be on finalizing an agreement with the Public Investment Fund and the DP World Tour, however, our negotiations have resulted in unsolicited interest from other investors.”